Evidence of a new Fireblade?

Could Honda’s US trademark application have a deeper meaning?

2018 Honda Fireblade SP

HONDA HAS submitted a trademark application in America that – if granted – will give the firm the right to use the name Fireblade over there.

2018 Honda CB1000R | Visordown Launch Test

It might seem a bit odd, given that in the rest of the world we’ve been used to the Fireblade title for more than quarter of a century now, but over in the States that title hasn’t been used. Over there, Honda will happily sell you a CBR1000RR, and would have flogged you a CBR900RR before that, but the name ‘Fireblade’ wouldn’t appear on it.

So the decision to suddenly apply for US trademark rights on the Fireblade name in 2018 seems to be a bit out-of-the-blue. But according to the US Patents and Trademarks Office, Honda made just such an application on May 31 this year. From August 28 it will be ‘published for opposition’ – meaning anyone else who objects to Honda’s use of the name will be able to speak out. And if nobody makes a valid claim, a few months later Honda will own the US rights to the Fireblade name.

Of course, it’s possible that the firm simply wants to rationalise its international naming policy, and will re-brand the existing US market ‘CBR1000RR’ as ‘Fireblade’. But wouldn’t it make sense to time a rebranding to match a revamp of the bike it’s being applied to?

In Japan, there are already growing rumours that Honda will unveil a new Fireblade for 2019, with a significant power increase compared to the current model. And while a single US trademark application is far from being solid evidence that those rumours are true, it certainly adds fuel to the fire.