Lincoln has trademarked the term "Black Label," but we're not sure what it means.

Consider the automotive world confused. Ford Motor Company has trademarked the phrase "Lincoln Black Label," but the application filed with the federal government doesn't give away any additional hints as to what the automaker plans to do with the phrase.

Car and Driver discovered the filing, but the magazine is just as confused as anyone else in their speculations. The term could be applied to the automaker's dealership network or to a line of "professional" cars like limousines, or it could refer to a special trim series for future models.

We think the latter suggestion is the most likely, since nearly every luxury brand has at least a few special trim models other than Lincoln. Arch-rival Cadillac, for example, uses the Platinum badge to refer to its luxed-up XTS and Escalade models, but Lincoln has no equivalent.

Ford is in the midst of attempting to reinvigorate a long-stagnant Lincoln division. Just last month, Lincoln was given its first dedicated design studio in decades, for example.

That said, Black Label has been used before - and not just by Johnnie Walker. Bentley's decade-old Arnage T was considered a Black Label model, although that short-lived model probably won't be on the minds of too many Lincoln shoppers.

On the other hand, the filing might not mean anything, since automakers regularly apply for trademarks for terminology they may or may not use just to keep the phrases in their back pocket.