Some years ago, some bright spark applied for a patent for the wheelbarrow. Some unsung genius had invented it many years ago and had neglected to patent his idea. The application was refused thus setting a precedent should anyone else try to patent an object for which none exists, the teaspoon, for example.
The first race to use the title 'Grand Prix' was a horse race for three-year-olds first run at Longchamps in 1863 and it was the Grand Prix de Paris. The first time that the appellation was used for a motor race was in 1906 for the Grand Prix de l'AFC, more commonly known as the French Grand Prix.
Some early races in America were called 'Grand Prize'.
I cannot see how Bernie, or anyone else, can trademark 'Grand Prix, which is a horse racing term. In the early days of our sport, horse racing was the closest model so we still have pole position, the paddock, stewards and a clerk of the course. In some early races at Brooklands, drivers wore silk colours, as jockeys do, but silk rips at high speed.
It is true that pole position is now more closely associated with motor racing, but it originally meant the horse running in front close to the rails. OED gives the first citation in print as the New York Times, 3rd September, 1888, but the term must have been in common parlance before then or it would not have been understood.
Here is a strange anomaly, OED does not have an entry for 'Formula One'.
We have all kinds of trademark issues, I believe Damon Hill registered his eyebrows. Ferrari has never been able to register the prancing horse because it is an heraldic device and appears on the coat of arms of Stuttgart, which is Porsche's badge. Ferrari's unique take is the horse on a shield with the letters S & F.
The first four-wheel-drive Ferrari is named the FF, but that was the name Jensen used in 1967 for the first modern 4WD production car. Jensen Motors still exists, maybe that should have words. Ford did when Ferrari wanted to call an F1, the F150, the name of a Detroit pick-up truck.
The small British kit car maker, Dutton, made a model called 'Sierra'. Then Ford used the name for its replacement for the Cortina. It went to court, the details have not been made public but Tim Dutton has always been relaxed about the outcome.
Formula One is the name of an economy hotel chain which I have used. It is also the name of an American powdered nutrition supplement.
Then we have lawyers issuing instructions on the way words can be used and it is the usual lawyer pedantic guff. I remember being told at school that you cannot use a double negative because two negatives make a positive. That is true in maths, not in English; Chaucer, correctly called the Father of the English Language, used the double negative as emphasis.
We are told that a split infinitive is ungrammatical and that is plain wrong; it offends no rule of grammar, only of rhetoric. The crew of the Starship Enterprise may boldly go, the phrase is so much better than to go boldly.
We have just celebrated Shakespeare's birthday and there was a man who was flexible with language, he would happily turn a noun into a verb when it suited him. In The Taming Of The Shrew, Petruchio declares his intention of finding a rich wife and says: 'I come to wive it wealthily in Padua.' Chaucer also uses 'wive' in the same way.
In one corner we have Bernie Ecclestone. In the other we have Shakespeare and Chaucer and more than a thousand years of the English language. Who is likely to be right?