Ford has once again filed a trademark application for the Splash name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Splash name was previously used on a special version of the Ranger pickup truck in the 1990s. Like all trademark applications, though, this doesn't mean Ford has immediate plans to use the name on a production vehicle.

First spotted by members of the Ford Maverick Forum, the application covers "motor vehicles, namely, automobiles, pickup trucks, electric vehicles, sport utility vehicles, off-road vehicles, and their structural parts." It also mentions "vehicle equipment package consisting of wheels, exterior body parts, and seats," which is effectively what the original Ranger Splash was.

If that seems a little vague, it's because automakers often file trademark applications to protect names for possible future use, without having specific short-term plans for those names. That seems to be the case here.

1997 Ford Ranger SPLASH

1997 Ford Ranger SPLASH

"Trademark applications are intended to protect new phrases, designs or symbols but aren’t necessarily an indication of new business or product plans," Ford spokesperson Dawn McKenzie told Motor Authority when asked about the filing.

Application filings like this are fairly common. Ford recently filed a new trademark application for the Thunderbird name, while General Motors and Toyota have sought to renew trademarks on the Cheyenne and Celica names, respectively.

So it's unclear if the Splash name will actually return on a new Ford vehicle. It would be interesting to see Ford exploit 1990s nostalgia and launch a new Ranger Splash, though, or perhaps even a Splash version of the recently-unveiled Maverick pickup.