TMEP 1205.01(b)(viii): Geographic-Reference Exception

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1205.01(b)(viii)    Geographic-Reference Exception

The OASA provides a narrow geographic-reference exception for use of the word OLYMPIC for businesses, goods, or services operated, sold, and marketed in the State of Washington west of the Cascade Mountain range. 36 U.S.C. §220506(d)(3). To qualify for the exception, the following requirements must be met: (1) the owner must not use the word OLYMPIC in combination with any of the other designated Olympic-related words or symbols; (2) it must be evident from the circumstances that use of the word OLYMPIC refers to the naturally occurring mountains or geographical region of the same name that were named prior to February 6, 1998, and not to the USOC or any Olympic activity; and (3) the goods or services offered under the OLYMPIC mark must be marketed and sold locally in Washington state west of the Cascade Mountain range, and not have substantial operations, sales, and marketing outside of this area. Since these requirements severely restrict the option of interstate commerce, which is regulated by Congress and a requirement under the Trademark Act, it is unlikely an applicant will be able to obtain a federal trademark registration under this exception.