2020 was a year cram-packed with all kinds of things. Among them, we all watched the Norton Motorcycles drama play out, as Indian motorcycle giant TVS eventually bought the troubled company outright. In April 2020, it reassured anxious Norton fans that the historic British marque would both stay in the UK and remain a premium motorcycle manufacturer.
Fast-forward to January 2021, and the newly reinvigorated Norton Motorcycles was hard at work building out its new facility in Solihull. With a planned opening in March, there was of course no time like the present to get everything done that needed doing. With all that turbulence behind it, Norton could simply concentrate on moving forward and building bikes.
Back when TVS took the reins, it was quick to offer assurances that Norton Motorcycles would continue to be built in the UK, and that it wasn’t moving manufacturing overseas. However, the motorcycle world is increasingly global, and despite its ups and downs, the Norton legacy is known by motorcycling fans throughout the world. So, the question remains: Since TVS is a major player in the Indian motorcycle market, does it also plan to sell Norton motorcycles in India?
Gallery: Norton Motorcycles IP India Trademark Filings
Rumors, quite naturally, have been circulating about this possibility since pretty much the moment the ink met the purchase paperwork. As of May 12, 2021, Indian publication the Economic Times mentioned that Norton filed for several model name trademarks with Intellectual Property India. It specifically named the models Norton Commando, Norton Atlas, Norton Manx, and Norton Fastback. Furthermore, when ET reached out to someone at TVS, the publication says that TVS offered no comment in response.
After consulting the IP India website for ourselves, we can see that Norton has indeed filed several trademark applications in relatively recent time. However, not all the trademarks applied for are listed as having officially been registered as of May 12, 2021. While some have a status of Registered, others are listed with statuses of Opposed or Objected. Here’s a full breakdown, including the dates of the applications for each.
Norton trademarks with a status of Registered or Accepted, according to IP India:
- Norton Commando: applied for on September 30, 2020, valid through September 30, 2030
- Norton Manx: applied for on September 30, 2020, valid through September 30, 2030
- Norton, both the word and the logo in separate applications: applied for on January 22, 2021, status of Accepted and Advertised for both the word and the logo
Norton trademarks with a status of Opposed:
- Norton Atlas: applied for on September 30, 2020
Norton trademarks with a status of Objected:
- Norton Dominator: applied for on September 30, 2020
- Norton Combat: applied for on September 30, 2020
- Norton Electra: applied for on September 30, 2020
- Norton Nomad: applied for on September 30, 2020
- Norton Navigator: applied for on September 30, 2020
- Norton Ranger: applied for on September 30, 2020
It’s not clear whether there’s a process in place for any entity attempting to register trademarks to rectify applications with statuses of “Opposed” or “Objected,” or if that’s the final word from IP India on the matter. We’re not trademark experts according to any nation’s laws, so we can’t offer an informed opinion about it at this time.
However, what we can say after seeing this is that whether Norton succeeded in registering these model name trademarks in India or not, the company clearly was interested in so doing. So, even if TVS isn’t offering an official comment about Norton Motorcycles returning to India, the existence of those applications tells us that it’s at least open to exploring those possibilities.
It’s still just a rumour at this point, but those trademark applications make it look like a pretty well-substantiated one. To be clear, that still doesn’t mean anything is certain, but it does appear that there’s a little more to it than just some anonymous sources.