Ford trademarks Skyline name for U.S. market

The Skyline nameplate has been inexorably linked with Nissan, and even enjoys a storied reputation based on its high-performance GT-R variants. Any car enthusiast who can tell a 5-speed from a CVT knows the name. However, that hasn’t stopped Ford from trademarking the “Skyline” name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The filing, discovered by Ford Authority, is dated July 12 under the category of  “Motor and land vehicles, namely, SUVs, trucks, and automobiles.” Either Ford intends to use it on an upcoming model (or trim level), is squatting on it in hopes of having plans for it down the road. Or maybe Ford is just trolling Nissan in an epic way.

The Skyline name actually predates Nissan. It was originally used by Japan’s Prince Motor Company for their mid-size sedan. In the early 1960s, engineers wedged a straight-six into the formerly four-cylinder family saloon and created a strong racing pedigree. Prince and Nissan merged in 1966, but the Skyline model continued and was developed into the legendary Skyline GT-R.

It is one of Nissan’s longest running nameplates in Japan and holds a lot of cultural cachet. Earlier this year, a Japanese newspaper that Nissan was going to kill off the Skyline, a Nissan executive took the unusual step of issuing a strongly worded denial during the introduction of a different model altogether.

Ford, on the other hand, has never used the name, however it did use the name “Skyliner” on several models in the 1950s. It was used to denote various open-top models such as the Crestline Skyliner, Crown Victoria Skyliner, and Galaxie Skyliner — the last car to feature a factory retractable hardtop until the 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder.

The current Nissan Skyline is sold as an Infiniti Q50 in the U.S., but it seems that Nissan will not be able to use the Skyline name here unless some lawyers get involved. If we were them, we’d be working overtime to trademark Silvia, Patrol, Bluebird and so on right about now.

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