Getting a trademark for a car name is typically fairly straightforward, given the name is not used elsewhere. There are occasions where this process becomes a little trickier, and Infiniti’s attempt to trademark the Eau Rouge name — the one used to identify the GT-R-powered Q50 — is a perfect example of on that is a little hairy. Infiniti filed for the trademark of the name back in January, but it has yet to be approved. The main issue that Infiniti may run into is that the Eau Rouge name is very obviously inspired by the famous uphill turn on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit that bears the same nickname.
The owners of the racetrack never trademarked the name in America, but it is trademarked under “L’Eau Rouge” in the European Union’s trademark office. Given the fact that it is not trademarked here in the U.S., the Patent Office should approve the trademark, but the racetrack’s owner will have a 30-day window to challenge the trademark’s approval.
I certainly expect a challenge to occur, but don’t look for that to stop the 560-horsepower sedan and any other future Infiniti super-performance car from carrying the name. Chances are that Infiniti will offer Spa-Francorchamps’ owners a nice sum for the name, maybe even a fixed amount for each car sold bearing the name, for the rights to use Eau Rouge. With all of the popularity that the Q50 Eau Rouge has gained in the last few months, it would be insane for Infiniti to suddenly drop the name over some thing as easily fixed as this.