Every one of us here at TopSpeed is foaming at the mouth to see the Q50 Eau Rouge take production form, but there may be a handful of roadblocks ahead. On January 8th, Infiniti filed a trademark application for the super-sedan’s "Eau Rouge" name, and the patent office has yet to approve it. It is almost a certainty that the patent office will approve it, but it will then go up for contention, and this is where the issues may pop up.
You see, the Eau Rouge name is actually inspired the famous uphill bend on the Spa-Francorchamps course owned by the Wallonian government. Though there is no American trademark on the name, the track does have the "L’Eau Rouge" name registered with the European Union’s trademark office. This would give the track and its owners legal grounds to contest the name, which could spell trouble for Infiniti.
Contention would ultimately give Infiniti two options. Option 1: change the name altogether. Option 2: pay Spa-Francorchaps a sum for each vehicle sold, much like GM did to SCCA for using the Trans Am name.
It is doubtful that the racetrack’s owners would turn down an offer to make a couple bucks with each vehicle sold just to use the nickname. Race tracks are notoriously expensive to run and go bankrupt regularly, so the extra cash flow for simply signing off on Infiniti using the name would likely be welcome.
We’ll keep an eye on this situation and update you as soon as the trademark issue is addressed.
Click past the jump to read more about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge
Why It Matters
Trademarks are always a tricky part of the industry. This is especially true with automakers gobbling up entire series, like BMW’s M Series and the Aston Martin DB series . Things become even tougher when the name the automaker chooses is inspired by something else, like the Eau Rouge. But this is all besides the point, as the real news here is that Infiniti is trying to obtain a trademark, which means the Eau Rouge name may morph into an entire line of performance, luxury cars.
The Q50 Eau Rouge is a monster if I’ve ever seen one. It combines the luxurious Q50 with the 560-horsepower, 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-6 from the Nissan GT-R. It also borrows the GT-R’s AWD system, so it launches with authority. The only real drivetrain difference between the Q50 Eau Rouge and the GT-R is the sedan’s seven-speed automatic transmission. Our best estimates put this super-sedan at 60 mph in under four seconds and up to a top speed around 180 mph.
It has yet to be confirmed for production, but with all the hoopla surrounding the Q50 Eau Rouge, it is only a matter of time before we see it in dealerships.