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Just A Car Guy Article on the 9 Slot VS. 7 Slot Grille

• CATEGORIES: Features

An article that discusses the 9 slot vs. the 7 slot grille appeared on Justacarguy.com’s website. Not surprisingly, the author missed some points.

grilles

Read the article here: https://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2016/01/9-slot-vs-7-slot-jeep-grills.html

In response to the article, Mark Wahlster pointed out on Facebook that the author forgot to mention the issue around the 7″ headlights, which were required at the time:

“The Ford design and inability to trademark it is part of it but the main reason was because 7″ headlights which is what the civilian world was using at the time wouldn’t fit. Simple as that. Also the first civilian jeeps came out in 1944 the first CJ2A’s hit the market in July of 45 BEFORE the end of the war in Sept. The first pilot vehicles the CJ2 had the 7″ headlights and 7 slot grills those were made in 1944-early 45.”

However, I thought it important to correct the inaccuracies regarding the trademarking of the grille, which I’ve seen appear in older articles on other sites as well.

“On the whole, I’m in agreement with Mark on this, especially regarding the 7” headlights. However, I’d like to clarify one minor point. The article uses inaccurate info from other, older articles regarding the ‘trademark of the grill’ issue. In my research, and when using TESS, I’ve not encountered any evidence that Willys-Overland tried to trademark the grill during or after the war.

In fact, the trademark filing for the grill wasn’t made until 1979 under AMC Chrysler, which received the trademark (category IC 012) in 1981 (1170088 … see reference pic). Ever since, AMC and Chrysler relied on that trademark to defend the iconic 7 slot grill design (see this link for example: https://law.justia.com/…/distri…/FSupp2/44/1062/2567958/). The trademark does not reference older trademarks; instead, it simply looks back at the first use of the grille (1941) to make its case for a trademark.

So, the issue over the Ford design wasn’t about a grille trademark;, it was that Ford claimed ownership of the grille and wanted credit for it. That led to a fight between Willys-Overland and Ford over who got to use the grille design, who got credit for the term “Jeep” (which Willys DID try to trademark in 1943), who got credit for inventing the jeep design (Willys wanted full credit), and who had the right to use all designs related to the WWII jeeps (which Willys felt entitled to use).

Of course, this wasn’t decided until July 1950 when Willys-Overland was awarded the JEEP trademark, reg #0526175.”

grille-design-filing

1979 Jeep Grille Trademark Filing

 

3 Comments on “Just A Car Guy Article on the 9 Slot VS. 7 Slot Grille

  1. Joe in Mesa

    Great info and clarifications, Dave… especially the grill not being trademarked until 1981: WOW.
    Thanks :-).

  2. L Houser

    Note this article says Chrysler filed for the grill trademark in 1979, and received it in 1981. Chrysler did not own Jeep at that time. It was American Motors Corp.

  3. David Eilers Post author

    L Houser,

    Good correction. I was so focused on one ball that I dropped the other!

    – Dave

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