Friday, March 4, 2022

Royal Enfield asks trademark for 'Constellation' name

Restored 1959 Royal Enfield Constellation.
Restored 1959 Royal Enfield Constellation recalls past glories. 

 Royal Enfield applied to trademark the name "Royal Enfield Constellation" for motorcycles and apparel in the United States. Application for a "mark image" and "word mark" was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Feb. 8, 2022. 

New applications are assigned to an examining attorney approximately six months after filing. 

So don't go down to your Royal Enfield dealer tomorrow expecting to find a powerful, shiny new "Constellation" waiting for you to buy. 

A forerunner of the Royal Enfield Interceptor, the original Royal Enfield Constellation was a 700cc parallel twin, introduced in 1958 with more power than any previous Royal Enfield, and gearing that gave it more top speed. 

The first Constellation secured Royal Enfield's claim to high performance when Motor Cycling magazine took one to Belgium for a 115-mph run. It averaged more than 80 mph from Brussels to Ostend, gobbling up slower traffic on the way.

"Royal Enfield Constellation," ran the company's advertising, "For Sheer Performance."

Zigwheels.com first reported Royal Enfield's application for the Constellation trademark in India and suggested that a new Royal Enfield Constellation could be anything from a no-frills version of the Royal Enfield 650 twins to something even more sporty, with alloy wheels and better suspension.

Either way, it wouldn't arrive until late 2023 or early 2024 the website guessed.

One thing to note is that the trademark application applies not only to motorcycles and scooters, but to electrically powered motorcycles and scooters. Could a new Constellation be electric?

Yes.

In fact, it could be a lot of things. Including a T-shirt.

The trademark would also cover pants, trousers, jackets, footwear, hats and caps, jerseys, sweaters, sweater dresses, jumpers, pullovers, leg warmers, legging, gloves and belts.

Reader John Donlon of Illinois wants to see Royal Enfield market a motorcycle, not a ball cap.

John has emailed  Royal Enfield executives urging action to trademark the Constellation name and develop a motorcycle worthy of it. John specifically asked for a premium upgrade on the 650 twin,  bored out all the way to 700cc, like the original.

Earlier than that, he emailed me (in 2015) suggesting that Royal Enfield roll out a Constellation for 2016!

He isn't alone in wanting to see Royal Enfield bring back the great old model names. I wrote about it myself just last week.

Royal Enfield's application for the Constellation trademark notes that it already has U.S. trademark approval for "Flying Flea," "Meteor" and "INT650" in hand.

One reason I'm happy that Constellation will join those trademarks is my near disbelief when the new Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 had to be branded as the INT650 in the United States. (Honda has the "Interceptor" name trademarked for the U.S.)

The name "Interceptor" seemed so central to nostalgia for Royal Enfields in the U.S. that I guessed there would be an active business in selling "Interceptor" stickers to cover INT650 on those examples sold here.

I don't think that has happened; everyone seems to know what "INT" means.

1960 ad for Royal Enfield Constellation.
1960 advertisement for Royal Enfield Constellation touted speed and looks.

Hopefully, someday soon, Royal Enfield will remind us what "Constellation" meant. The 1960 U.S. advertisement for it read like this:

"CONSTELLATION - 52 hp - 115 mph - A specially developed model for the discriminating sports rider who demands the utmost in performance and appearance."

The pretty 1959 Constellation shown at top was found covered with cobwebs but with low miles by a British enthusiast. He restored it with painted fenders rather than the original plated mudguards, as a matter of personal preference.

"Performance wise she pulls like a train," he said of his Constellation. "Definitely puts a smile on your face when you hit the gas."

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