Filed under: Government/Legal , Buick , Chevrolet , Chrysler , Dodge , Ford , GM , Lexus , Toyota The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists. Why has Toyota applied to trademark ” Supra ,” the name of one of its legendary sports cars, even though it hasn’t sold one in the United States in 16 years? Why would General Motors continue to register ” Chevelle ” long after one of the most famous American muscle cars hit the end of the road? And what could Chrysler possibly do with the rights to “313,” the area code for Detroit ? There are a lot of possible answers to these questions, since automakers apply for trademarks for a variety of reasons. While a filing can be the first sign of a new model – or the return of an old favorite – moving to secure a trademark can just as easily be a smoke signal. Frequently, it’s just a routine legal procedure to maintain rights to a famous name so it can be used on t-shirts and coffee mugs. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists. Though there’s strong circumstantial evidence Toyota may in fact be working on a Supra-successor, for now the name is simply a filing that’s weaving its way through the federal bureaucracy. Toyota has let the Supra trademark lapse in the past before reapplying for it.