Invention Geek – Engine Noise Trademark?

Question from Devin D.:

Hello Geek,
Is it true that Harley-Davidson has a trademark for the sound of its engine?

Hi Devin,

What a interesting question.

While it is true that sounds can be trademarked, Harley-Davidson does not have a trademark on its engine sound.

Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark the sound in 1994. On February 1, 1994 the company filed an application which read “The mark consists of the exhaust sound of applicant’s motorcycles, produced by V-twin, common crankpin motorcycle engines when the goods are in use.”

Nine other motorcycle companies filed oppositions to the the application. They argued that the sound produced by the exhaust of the motorcycle was similar to the sound produced by any other manufacturer’s motorcycle which has a V-twin crankpin engine. After six years in court, Harley-Davidson withdrew the trademark application in 2000.

– TG

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