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The strange saga of the Jeep Wagoneer

by Bill Cawthon on

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which sources say has finally been green-lighted for production, might have a different name when it hits the market: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declared that the “Grand Wagoneer” infringes on a trailer company’s mark.

In June, the USPTO’s examining attorney found that the name was too similar to “Wagoneer,” which is already registered by Skyline Corporation for use on trailers. Evergreen RV had also applied for the name “Wagoneer.”

The trademark “Wagoneer” was registered by Willys in 1962 for use on motor vehicles; it was later held by various owners of Jeep, and was last renewed for ten years by Chrysler Group on December 30, 2013.

Chrysler Group had applied for the Grand Wagoneer trademark in 2011; it was approved on sent on May 1, 2012. All the company had to do then to register it was use it in commerce and file a Statement of Use (SOU) — but the company was not ready yet, so it filed a request for a six month extension… then another… until all five allowed extensions had been granted. The application was abandoned on June 1, 2015.

Michelle Madak, FCA US’ trademark attorney, filed a replacement application for “Grand Wagoneer” on April 13, 2015. This time it was reviewed by USPTO examiner Andrea Hack, who said it conflicted with a prior application for the Wagoneer name by Evergreen RV, for use on motor homes, filed on March 28, 2015.  The USPTO also found the Evergreen application invalid due to the possibility of confusion with the Skyline trademark.

2019 Jeep Wagoneer

Thus, FCA’s application to register the Grand Wagoneer name, which had already been approved, is now on hold because shoppers might confuse a Jeep with a travel trailer. Ironically, Skyline has apparently dropped its Wagoneer trailer — though they will own it at least until 2020, and can renew it afterwards.

FCA US still appears to own the Wagoneer name for use on motor vehicles.

Since FCA has not appealed the decision, they may be using the suspension to get the Grand Cherokee ready for production without having to go to the trouble of filing extensions. It doesn’t cost anything unless the USPTO makes another decision.

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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