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In what appears to be a classic case of sweating the small stuff, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board have refused to grant Honda a trademark for the term, "Acura RL," which, as we're sure you are aware, is the name of the luxury firm's flagship model. From what we can tell, this means that the Japanese automaker does not hold a trademark for the car's complete name.

The reasons given make sense from a technical standpoint, as the TTAB's response to Honda's appeal states that "we find that the likely impression here is that ACURA is the trademark for a line (or "make") of cars, while RL is a trademark for a particular "model" of that line."

Well, yeah. Acura is the make and RL is the model -- we're in agreement on that one. The differing viewpoints stem from the fact that Honda was unwilling or unable to provide proper evidence to the board that the words "Acura" and "RL" appear close enough together on the car, its manuals or its marketing materials to warrant its own trademark. Nitpick much? Thanks for the tip, Kevin!

[Source: TTAB (PDF link) via The TTABlog]


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  • 27 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      ummm why does it have 4 exhaust tips??
      • 5 Years Ago
      "RL" is a nitwit name in the first place. The Acura "Legend" was a far better name for the senior Acura; in Japan, that car is called the Honda Legend.

      The RL, TL, TSX, and so on, are confusing to most people. Why not go back to a name? Would Honda drop Accord or Civic in exchange for two or three meaningless letters?

      OK, RL means road luxury, and TL means touring luxury--or I think it's something obscure like that, but who cares?

      The entire letter naming of car models is crazy now.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe they'll stop making this bloated and overpriced Accord...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't the ads for the car say something like "The RL by Acura"?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Trademark Trial and Appeal Board: "Doing any and everything we can to remain relevant."
      • 5 Years Ago
      They also need to improve the styling of their cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now, color me ignorant, but does this matter too much?
      Does Ford hold a TM for "Ford Taurus" or just "Taurus" when referring to the vehicle?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe, Tourian, but they were stupid enough to let "GT40" go. Then they were forced to rename the new GT40 the Ford GT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Surely they do. No one else could name a car Taurus in this country. They even hang on to the old names they're not using any more. Like Granada or Edsel.
      • 5 Years Ago
      At this point, Acura is so rudderless and the RL is so also-ran it doesn't even matter. I hear people say bring back Legend, etc. but why ruin a great name with such lousy cars.
      Brett
      • 5 Years Ago
      I totally agree with the car naming these days, acura is just as confusing as mercedes and lincoln.
      But back on topic, why do they need a trademark on "Acura RL" when they already have "Acura" and "RL" trademarked?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe it's more a comment on the relevance and/or competitiveness of the Acura RL (not just "RL").
      • 5 Years Ago
      quad exhausts are a bit much for a V6 luxury sedan, right? i never noticed those before.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quick, Kia should sell a version of the Genesis and call it the RL!!!

      With no logos!

      :D
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