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Nitro trademark: no hidden agenda

by Bill Cawthon on

The news that Chrysler Group has an application to register the Dodge Nitro trademark has caused some controversy as some believe the action could be a signal that the name will be used for a new vehicle, perhaps a Dodge version of the Jeep Cherokee.

Unfortunately, though such speculation is tantalizing, the reality is far more mundane: this is a housekeeping move to protect the design of the Nitro logo.

Chrysler Group applied for trademark registry only for a single type of use: “Goods & Services: Badges for vehicles” and the specimen used in the appeal was the Nitro badge used as a replacement part.

A registered trademark protects only specified uses (there are about 43 live trademarks – applications and registered – for “Nitro”). If you want to cover other usages, such as toys or merchandise, you have to include them in your application and there is a fee for each class. Depending on the method of filing, the fee is $275 to $375 per class. Obviously, the cost of the fee would not be a financial challenge for Chrysler Group, so the take-away has to be that the company really did want just the one class covered.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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