Honda has sold more than 87 million Super Cubs in its numerous variants since the bike’s introduction in 1958, meaning it has easily outsold any of the world’s recognised volume-sellers on four wheels, such as the Volkswagen Beetle, Toyota Corolla and Ford’s F-Series Pickup.
A 3D trademark falls under the ‘non-conventional trademark’ umbrella, which recognises colours, holograms, sounds and in the case of the Super Cub; shapes.
With the trademark in place, Honda is now free to pursue those who may seek to copy the Super Cub’s styling in countries which are members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
While Japan can now protect the iconic Super Cub in its own market and WIPO countries, authorities in some other countries have shown little interest in following Japan’s lead.
Designs for several popular models from established carmakers have been ‘borrowed’ by new carmakers in China, for example, and the Super Cub has been in the sights of designers in countries outside Japan for decades.
In Australia, the SYM Symba is perhaps the best example of a Super Cub interpretation (er... copy). The Chinese-built step-through bike is on sale now from $2999 plus on-roads.
The Super Cub is currently manufactured in 14 countries, with its reliability, low ownership costs and the availability of spare parts fuelling its popularity in developing countries.
With Japan now recognising a 3D trademark in the Honda Super Cub, it’s believed other manufacturers will attempt to follow suit.
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