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]