GM still cannot use Corvette logo in Australia due to Red Cross resemblance

Article by Christian A., on February 1, 2017

Apparently, the intellectual property authority in Australia looks at the logo of Chevrolet and sees a resemblance to the Red Cross symbol, not a bowtie. Since the already iconic wing-like Chevrolet Corvette flag badge features the Chevrolet bowtie, IP Australia is adamant to allow General Motors to use it in the Land Down Under.

People privy with the matter told Australian auto magazine Wheels that since 2013, GM has been trying to make the Chevrolet Corvette logo a legal trademark in Australia. However, IP Australia dropped GM’s trademark application in 2016. The main reason for the move was that IP Australia believes that Chevrolet’s bowtie logo is a close representation of the Red Cross, which according to the Geneva Conventions Act 1957, could only be used during times of conflict in order to indicate that people or vehicle bearing it shouldn’t be shot.

There are some problematic areas with IP Australia’s reason for dropping the trademark application for the Chevrolet Corvette logo. For instance, Chevrolet’s logo isn’t a cross, but a bowtie. Moreover, its color isn’t red. There is nothing that bans the use of a cross, as long it isn’t a red cross on a white background. On the Chevrolet Corvette emblem, the Chevrolet bowtie logo – in gold color -- is located on the red flag along with a silver/white fleur-de-lis. Unfortunately for GM, IP Australia sees the golden bowtie as a red logo, as well as the red background on one of the flags as a white background.

However, it seems that GM has filed for a so-called “divisional” application for the trademark, which would allow the carmaker to register the logo for goods and/or services to which the objection from IP Australia has no impact. In short, GM just has to modify the coverage of the original trademark application to give it more time for approval.

A source has remarked that GM might had already spent “tens of thousands of dollars” just to register the Chevrolet Corvette logo. Moreover, GM may seek for an exemption from Federal Defense Minister Marise Payne to use the emblem even before its approval, another source said.

Chevrolet has been using the bowtie logo since 1913, as thought up by co-founder William C. Durant. Likewise, the Chevrolet Corvette’s twin-flag emblem – a racing checkered flag crossed with a red flag bearing the Chevrolet logo and the fleur-de-lis – has been in use since 1953. Chevrolet Corvette’s twin-flag emblem has undergone several transformations. In the latest iteration, the twin-flag logo has acquired a wing-like appearance, where the poles have been done away with.

But why is GM applying for a Chevrolet Corvette trademark in Australia? Well, there have been speculations that GM is bringing the latest generation of the Corvette – the Chevrolet Corvette C8 -- to Australia when the new supercar debuts for the 2019 model year. The trademark application gives more weight to these speculations.

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