Skip to main content

Tesla officially applies for Model 3 trademark: “three equal length horizontal stylized lines”

model 3 trademark

If you needed more proof that Tesla hopes to use three horizontal lines to advertise the Model 3 – even after the company sent out the official invites for unveiling – now Electrek learned that the automaker officially submitted an application for the trademark in the “Automobiles and structural parts” class.

Tesla filed the application last week and it is now under review. The automaker describes the mark in its application:

“The mark consists of three equal length horizontal stylized lines in the manner of a horizontal stylized roman numeral III.”

The company makes no reference to the mark being identical to the “E” in Tesla’s logo.

Since 2013, Tesla officials have been referring to the company’s upcoming third generation vehicle as the “Model E”, which would have joined the models S and X in Tesla’s lineup to make “S-E-X” with the Model Y to follow later.

The name stuck for a while, but during the shareholders meeting in July 2014, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company had to drop its “Model E” trademark after Ford threatened to sue over having a similar naming scheme. At the time, Musk said that “Ford tried to kill sex.”

Since then, Tesla has been referring to the upcoming third generation vehicle as the “Model 3”, but Tesla is clearly trying to keep “SEX” alive with this three horizontal lines workaround.

The mark is also similar to the Chinese character for “3”.

Here’s the trademark application:

model 3 trademark application

The Tesla Model 3 will be unveiled at Tesla’s Design Studio in Hawthorne, California, on March 31st at 8:30pm Pacific. If you want to reserve the vehicle, Tesla revealed all the reservation process details per region.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Stay up to date with the latest content by subscribing to Electrek on Google News. You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.


  1. Chris - 7 years ago

    The three lines represent the three phase electric motor, which started with the Tesla Roadster. Elon always has a purpose for everything.

    • Trev Page - 7 years ago

      These lines can represent so many things to Tesla, it’s just a perfect symbol for them.

  2. I expect the following models to be t, h, i, n and g..

    • MorinMoss - 7 years ago

      They can’t get Model T – Ford owns it and won’t give it up.

      • Red Sage - 7 years ago

        Perhaps, but per Prince… M, and F would look good too…

  3. MorinMoss - 7 years ago

    What were they waiting for? They should have done this years ago; someone could have scooped the trademark and it could have cost Tesla a pretty penny to buy it.

    • Brian Faucher - 7 years ago

      I was going to say the same thing, the name has been known for a long time, I don’t understand the delay here.

  4. Alex - 7 years ago

    They wanted to call it the Model E, but they’d get sued by Ford. Then they’d have the Model S, E, X and eventually the Model Y. True story.

  5. Syrus - 7 years ago

    The man is a genius of marketing. Think about it: no one cares with car names anymore. It is simply all boring and irrelevant. But look at the story one can tell now. Also, it turned out the horizontal bars will make many viewers curious and ask what is the rationale and story behind it. Gosh, this guy knows how to take advantage of the situation.

  6. Red Sage - 7 years ago

    I believe the appropriate response here is “I told you so!”

    The problem with the whole ‘E’ thing for Ford, is that it doesn’t explain why Mercedes-Benz is allowed to use ‘E-Class’… That, coupled with the fact that though there have been plenty of ‘E’ themed names of Ford products — from Edsel and Escort, to Econoline and Excursion, to Escape and Energi — they haven’t actually used ‘Model E’ in about 90 years.


Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email:

Through, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.