Should GM be allowed to trademark ‘range anxiety’?
Updated: 3:41 p.m. ET to include Tesla’s response.
General Motors is attempting to trademark the term "range anxiety" in its attempt to get across the idea that you may run out of juice in an ordinary all-electric car, but not in a Chevrolet Volt. Volt has an auxiliary gas engine backing up its batteries and electric motors.
Jalopnik found the application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. GM confirms that it plans to use the term to denote Volt’s superiority over its electric competition. "We’re going to position this as a car first and electric second … people do not want to be stranded on the way home from work," says Joel Ewanick, GM’s head of U.S. marketing.
OK. But what do you say about trademarking a term that has long been in a common usage on the automotive beat. Running the term "range anxiety" on Google turns up 28,700 pages. Is this the kind of term that should be patented?
Tesla, maker of high-performance electric cars, didn’t miss a beat:
"By all means, GM can have ‘range anxiety,’" says Vice President Ricardo Reyes. "To Roadster owners, the term is as irrelevant as ‘gas stop’ or ‘smog check.’ We are, however, looking into trademarking ‘Tesla grin.’"