There’s been a lot of buzz around a rumored Apple car. Does it exist? When will we see it? And so on and so forth. While none of the reports have been directly addressed by Apple, a new trademark filing might indicate what’s actually happening behind the scenes in Cupertino.
Apple has apparently moved to expand trademark coverage of the Apple name and logo in Switzerland to include vehicles, which may or may not mean Apple is working on a vehicle, or vehicles. Numerous reports have claimed Apple is most definitely investigating the possibility of an autonomous electric vehicle, with a number of high-profile engineers working on the project. But while the timing of the filings coincide with a number of unconfirmed reports, it’s worth noting Apple has expanded trademark coverage to include vehicles as far back as 2003.
As noted by MacRumors, the practice of trademark expansion isn’t unusual for the iPhone maker (or any company, for that matter), so it shouldn’t really come as a major surprise Apple is covering all of its bases. Apple in 2003 filed a similar vehicle-related trademark with the European Union—another filing was discovered in the United Kingdom, while another was expanded in Mexico last month.
Here is some of the language used in the trademark pertaining to vehicles:
Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf cars; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.
Just because a trademark has been expanded doesn’t mean Apple will eventually make its own line of golf carts or wheelchairs. What this does is afford the company the broadest protection possible, so if another company tried to make a bicycle with the Apple name or logo, Apple could step in and say, ‘No.’
The new expansions are a little suspect because of their timing, but I wouldn’t look too far into it—yet. There have been a ton of reports claiming Apple is getting serious about an autonomous electric vehicle, so this might be one instance where looking more deeply at the trademark does uncover what’s going on up at the Cupertino campus.