Is it a new model, or will an old one get a new name?
The Jeep Liberty could soon be set for a revival, as CarBuzz has discovered trademark documentation filed by Jeep with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the word "Liberty." The application was filed on 17 November 2022 and was filed under the category of vehicles as its primary class.
The move may seem odd since Jeep should already own the rights for Liberty. But a quick glance at the USPTO's regulations reveals that a trademark does not expire as long as it remains in continued use. If it lays dormant for a decade, it expires. It just so happens that it has been 10 years since Jeep pasted the Liberty badge to the rear end of the second-generation (KK) Liberty.
If you're too young to remember what a Liberty was, here's the abridged version: In 2002, Jeep wanted more differentiation between the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee, so the former was renamed the Liberty. Jeep built two generations of the Liberty before finally coming to its senses.
Both generations of the Liberty were absolute dumpster fires. The second-generation Cherokee remains an absolute legend, but its successors have generally been major disappointments. We haven't received a model update announcement for the 2023 model year, and only 2022 models are available on Jeep's website. The same is true of the Compass.
You can order the 2023 model year of every other model Jeep sells in the USA. Is this an indication that these models are on the way out? We reached out to Jeep for comment and will update you accordingly.
There are three reasons Jeep might want to hang on to the name. It could be as innocent as Jeep not wanting anyone else to trademark the word since it hasn't been used for 10 years. It only costs $400 to register a trademark, so why not?
Or Jeep could bring back one of its heritage names for a new EV. Jeep's small EV crossover, the Avenger, uses a name that dates back to the '70s. The Wrangler's all-electric cousin, the Recon, also has a familiar name. The Xtreme Recon Package made its debut last year.
We don't think that's what it will be used for, however. You might have heard that Cherokee Nation is not happy with Jeep using its name. Sports teams like the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins famously changed their names, but Jeep has refused to adapt. There was a report in March 2021 stating that Jeep was open to changing the name, but we haven't heard anything since.
The fifth-generation Cherokee has been on sale since 2014, so a replacement must be waiting in the wings. Will Jeep go back to using the Liberty name due to pressure from the Cherokee Nation, and if so, what will happen with the Grand Cherokee?