The fourth-generation Toyota Prius is growing ever closer to launch and might even already be on the roads testing in heavy camouflage now. A recent filing by Toyota with the US Patent and Trademark Office for the name Prius Prime hints that the popular hybrid might get something different with its new model.

As is often the case with trademark filings, the information here is quite barebones. All that is officially known is that as of March 26, 2015, Toyota owns the Prius Prime name for "automobiles and structural parts thereof." Green Car Reports speculates that the moniker could be for anything from a new trim level to a completely different model in the hybrid's lineup.

One possibility at least to consider stems from a rumor from last year. According to that speculation, the next Prius might be offered in two versions: one with a nickel-metal hydride battery getting around 55 miles per gallon and another with a lithium-ion pack capable of over 60 mpg. The Prime name could actually work for either of them.

Of course, a trademark filing also isn't a guarantee of a vehicle actually seeing production. Automakers can sit on the names for years just for safety, but sometimes they really do point to the future.

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Toyota Prius Family: TRANSLOGIC 129
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Goods and Services IC 012. US 019 021 023 031 035 044. G & S: Automobiles and structural parts thereof
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 86577082
Filing Date March 26, 2015
Current Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B

Owner (APPLICANT) Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor Corporation CORPORATION JAPAN 1, Toyota-cho Toyota-shi, Aichi-ken JAPAN 471-8571

Attorney of Record Roberta S. Bren
Prior Registrations 3625763;4091489;4219530
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

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