1998 Chevrolet Cavalier in Phoenix wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Ask this writer how he feels about the oft-derided Chevrolet Cavalier, and he’ll tell you it was only worth owning when offered with GM’s 60-degree V6 family (a second-gen coupe with a 3.1-liter is essentially the model’s zenith), though the 2002MY decision to plunk the decently powerful, low-maintenance 2.2-liter Ecotec beneath the hood wasn’t a bad one.

Besides those attributes, as well as, um, excellent secondhand affordability, there’s little praise that can be mustered for the model that bowed out of the Chevy lineup in 2005. Still, General Motors continues to see value in the Cavalier name. The model is still sold in China and Mexico, where it looks much like a smaller Cruze. And, in the U.S., GM just filed a trademark application for the nameplate.

Two trademarks, actually — “Cavalier,” and “Chevrolet Cavalier.” The filings were uncovered by The Drive, which mulls that GM could one day revive the nameplate.

It’s a long shot, to be sure. While the automaker doesn’t see much use in building its own small cars in the States (the Cruze is dead and the Sonic’s days are numbered), Chinese-built vehicles have to contend with a new 25-percent import tariff, and the current-gen Cavalier indeed hails from that faraway land.

As well, GM’s efforts to keep the Cavalier name alive are not relegated just to the two March 27th trademark filings. On September 9, 2015, the automaker filed identical applications for the Cavalier and Chevrolet Cavalier trademarks. While federal trademarks last 10 years, they actually have to be used to stay active. Companies that intend to use the trademark must file a Statement of Use (SOU) to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to show that intent, and to gain approval for the mark. Companies that aren’t ready to use the trademark can request a time extension for filing an SOU.

Extensions can be filed every six months for a period of up to three years, and GM, after having its application abandoned in October of 2016 for failing to file an SOU, has done just that. The application was revived the following month, kicking off a series of SOU extensions staggered in six-month intervals. The last extension approval was granted on February 7th. Essentially, GM’s running out of time and needs to file another trademark application to keep its grip on the Cavalier name.

Of course, during this time, it could file an SOU and begin using the name on a vehicle sold in the U.S., but GM’s trademark history points to this being a simple legal exercise to keep the Cavalier name in the company fold.

Sorry, Cavalier fans.

[Image: © 2017 Murilee Martin/TTAC]




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