In July of this year, renowned auto manufacturer Volkswagen filed a trademark registration for a new GTI logo. For the most part, the logo was unchanged: the letters G and T seemed to have the same font and general design. The I, however, had been changed into a lightning bolt symbol. This has car lovers speculating a future of electric vehicles for Volkswagen’s GTI offerings, an exciting prospect for things to come. Sure enough, Volkswagen has since announced their intention to release 11 all-electric vehicles by 2027, including the ID. GTI.
About GTI and the Volkswagen ID. Line
GTI stands for “Grand Touring Injection.” It’s a type of direct fuel injection that Volkswagen started using in 1976 in order to create cars that could travel over long distances without losing performance quality. It’s most popular in the Volkswagen GTI Golf, a compact five-seater hatchback, especially in the United States. Over time, GTI has become a popular category of Volkswagen vehicles.
Meanwhile, the Volkswagen ID. line is the manufacturer’s first line of vehicles built to be all electric. This comes on the heels of tighter restrictions on fuel emissions in Europe, as well as the trend of electric vehicles growing across manufacturers. There are hatchbacks, crossovers, vans, and SUVs all within the ID. line. They sport that classic Volkswagen look with exciting modern electric vehicle technology.
Early this month, Volkswagen released the news that they were developing the ID. GTI, a fully electric vehicle within the GTI line. The vehicle will resemble the ID. 2 previously previewed. It is set to release in Europe for 2027. Although a release date is unconfirmed, it is possible that the ID. GTI will be making its way over to the United States at some point after the fact.
The New Trademark For GTI
The new GTI trademark was registered in July, a couple months before the ID. GTI was released. This clued car lovers in that there was big news to come soon. However, this is likely not the last we will see of electric innovations under the GTI name. A trademark is meant to represent a brand overall. This change in trademark signifies not just one new car but an evolution of the GTI brand overall. This means we can likely still look forward to more news about electric vehicles to come.
Why Change Your Logo?
Your logo is supposed to be your business’s callsign, as it were. When people see it, they know that it’s your business. It’s important that it be recognizable. It may seem contradictory, then, to change that logo and risk it going unrecognized. However, as we’ve seen from the Volkswagen GTI example, there may be smart reasons to do so.
For one thing, your brand may not stay the same throughout time. You may decide that you want to shift towards a more modern, sustainable manufacturing design — such as electric vehicles. Or you may want to be known for self-driving vehicles as you grow in innovation for self-driving cars. A change in your logo can serve as a marker to your new direction.
Logos have also been changed as a way of targeting a different audience, such as a shift from a more family audience to young professionals. What is important to keep in mind is that your logo does not have to change completely. Consider the new GTI trademark: the same font is used, and the logo is much the same, except that the I is replaced with a lightning bolt. It’s a good idea to use your old logo as a jumping off point for your new logo, so that it is still recognizable.
Can You Update Your Trademark Registration?
There are some circumstances in which you might be able to amend a registered trademark, as long as it contains the “essence” of the original trademark and “does not materially alter the character” of the trademark. For instance, if you need to add a disclaimer or remove goods and services from your trademark registration, you can do so. However, for significant changes to the trademark itself, you would be better served registering a new trademark.
In the case of Volkswagen, they registered a new trademark when changing the GTI logo. Although the logo was mostly the same, the differences were significant enough to go beyond the need for a trademark update. Your intellectual property law team at Garcia-Zamor can help you determine whether the best choice for you is to update an existing trademark or register an old trademark. We then take care of the trademark registration for you, so you can focus on the new exciting things you have in store for your brand.
Contact Garcia-Zamor today to learn more about how we can help you when you, like Volkswagen, need to change trademarks to herald a new era in your company.