The legal reasons behind the difficulty to find a name for TopGears’ Hosts

Now that Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May have everything hashed out with Amazon, that have run into the snag of naming the show. As luck would have it, the struggle is as real as it gets. The team has already come up with several names, but everything keeps getting shot down by the lawyers.

For a while, the name “Gear Knobs” seemed like it was going to float the bill, but as it turns out, the name was too similar to “TopGear.” In his column in the Sunday Times, Clarkson explained, “[The lawyer said the trademark was available, but it would be an unwise idea, owing to the laws surrounding intellectual property. In short, the BBC not only owns the rights to the Stig and the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car and the Cool Wall, but also to any name that is remotely similar to Top Gear.” He continued by saying, “We need a name that isn’t in use by any business anywhere in the world and doesn’t even sound or look like any name that’s in use by any business anywhere in the world.”

So, as you can see, the entertaining trio has a pretty serious problem on their hands. The show is supposed to debut later this fall, but the team is running out of time to come up with a legal name that is usable. Well, we think the trio should go for the name TopSpeed, and we have some pretty good reasons to back it up. Still with me, Mr. Clarkson?

Keep reading for the full story.

Stick it to the TopGear Execs

Just think about it. After that little altercation, TopGear said we don’t need you Jeremy Clarkson, and kicked him to the curb. Well, how great would it be to strike the final blow by naming your new show TopSpeed? It will really get someone’s panties in a bunch when the execs over at TopGear realize that not only do you get better viewership with your new show, but the show is also called TopSpeed. Sure, there is a little bit of legal danger due to the similarities between the two names, and the lawyers might not like it at first, but we’ve seen your stunts and know you like to live dangerously.

TopSpeed Should Have Been the Show’s Name All Along

After years of watching TopGear, we’ve always wondered just why the hell it wasn’t named TopSpeed anyway. I mean come on, the trio has pitted a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti against a passenger jet, a Nissan GT-R against the Japanese Public Transit System, and let’s not forget the Car vs. God race in Series Sixteen. And, these just barely touch base on all the races we’ve seen on the show over the years. Tell me that TopSpeed doesn’t make sense as a good name.

TopSpeed is Trademarked in the U.S.A.

The TopSpeed name is trademarked in the U.S.A., so there is no legal issue with using the name for U.S. production, if you gain the rights to it. Furthermore, the .com is available for international development. In other words, you could hit the ground running with our website. Sure, there may be some issues here and there with international use, but with a lawyer that charges you £7,000 pounds for making or receiving a phone call, I’m sure she is more than capable of obtaining rights internationally, or at least finding the necessary loopholes.

TopSpeed May Have a Legal Angle on the Trademark Issue

This really all depends on perception of intellectual property laws and trademark laws, but using the name TopSpeed may not pose as much of a legal risk as one might think. Television names can be trademarked, but based on a “likelihood of confusion.” That said, one could argue that while “TopSpeed” and “TopGear” are quite similar to look at, they aren’t that likely to be confused. The words that make up the names are common, which means they are free of copyright, and the difference between “speed” and “gear” is huge. Plus, let’s not forget about the British television show Fifth Gear, which hasn’t had any legal issues with TopGear — at least not that we know of, anyway.

In all reality, someone who doesn’t keep up with the news may walk into a room, see the famous trio on the TV, and assume the work on TV is TopGear – just because of the presenters. That in itself is more confusing than the correlation between the two names. I know for a fact that if someone told me that they were watching TopSpeed, I wouldn’t confuse it for the long-running show named TopGear on BBC. If you think about it from that angle, it is a valid point.

Communication is Evolving

As time goes on, language is breaking down more and more. Real life emotions are even being replaced by terms like “LOL” or “OMG.” With that said, we’re ushering in a new era of communication where people like shorter videos and blurbs instead of long, drawn out publications. Take a look at our site, and you’ll see that we are a prime hub for such communication. The website is already set up to publish on a regular basis, or on an as-needed basis, and can post something as simple as a full-length movie or a 30-second clip, and the same thing goes for written communication as well. is perfect for quick blurbs, blogging, or posting the behind-the-scenes goodies from your latest stunt.

Bonus Reasons

Let’s be honest here, Clarkson, Hammond, and May are running short on time when it comes to naming the show. With the show set to debut in the fall, we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a new show with no name. Surely, resorting to a focus group or a fan-voting platform in haste would be an unfavorable idea.

And, on top of that, even if a legal issue does manifest itself between the trio and TopGear, well that’s just more publicity for the new show. The TopSpeed name itself is a nobrainer, and would be well worth a little fight, given the history of the three famous presenters.


Sure, using the name TopSpeed for Clarkson, Hammond, and May’s new show might ruffle the feathers of the legal team, and it will surely spark some interest of the powers that be over at TopGear, but if it can be done without a massive and stupid legal battle, why not? We’ve got an attractive logo, an established site, and viewership. Not to mention the fact that TopSpeed it’s a pretty cool and catchy name, and would make sense for the new show, don’t you think? Clarkson, if you happen to be reading this, we would be more than happy to lend the use of our name to the show for a few pennies here and there, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: