Brand protection: Ford will market Detroit landmark station with this trademark

July 02, 2020, 7:54 PM by  Alan Stamm

(Photos: Ford Motor Co.)

This 107-year-old Detroit icon is more than a building to Ford Motor Co., which bought Michigan Central Station in 2018.

Now it wants to trademark the landmark as a protected brand name, as it did with Mustang, Thunderbird and Bronco. The old depot will have its own logo (below) to symbolize the Crown Vic of Ford’s “Corktown Campus.”

A federal application is filed by Sharon Sorkin, chief trademark counsel at Ford Global Technologies in Dearborn.   

Ford is renovating the three-story former station and 18-floor office tower as the anchor of its self-driving vehicles research and development center. It envisions offices and design studios for 5,000 people, half of whom will be Ford employees.

The historic rail station, which operated until 1988, also is a valuable real estate and corporate image asset, the branding move shows. As Southwest Detroit’s biggest landlord, Ford has ambitious visions that go way beyond autonomous transportation. It envisions “a destination offering mixed-use spaces, such as office, retail, hospitality and community” event sites.

Sunset glow on a Beaux Arts icon of Detroit

The stylized logo – “the letter M in the middle of the letter C” – will be used for “real estate management and leasing services; residential real estate brokerage and leasing of commercial and business offices; real estate leasing of residential condominium units and leasing of space in retail shopping centers,” the automaker tells the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in last week’s application.

Short-term and long-range plans for “an innovation ecosystem” are sketched at a Corktown Campus section of the corporate website. One use for the new logo is community-unifying efforts:

Ford will work together with our new neighbors to integrate entrepreneurship, small business, arts and mixed-use community spaces.

A reopening target for the modernized train depot is some time in 2022.

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