TMEP 1209.03(n): "America" or "American"

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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1209.03(n)    "America" or "American"

If "AMERICA" or "AMERICAN" appears in a phrase or slogan, the examining attorney must evaluate the entire mark to determine whether it is merely descriptive as laudatory or even incapable. In re Boston Beer Co. L.P., 198 F.3d 1370, 53 USPQ2d 1056 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (THE BEST BEER IN AMERICA so highly laudatory and descriptive as applied to beer and ale that it is incapable of acquiring distinctiveness); In re Carvel Corp., 223 USPQ 65 (TTAB 1984) (AMERICA’S FRESHEST ICE CREAM held incapable for ice cream); In re Wileswood, Inc., 201 USPQ 400 (TTAB 1978) (AMERICA’S BEST POPCORN! and AMERICA’S FAVORITE POPCORN! merely descriptive of unpopped popcorn). Typically, these marks primarily extol the quality or popularity of the goods or services and secondarily denote geographic origin. The examining attorney must look at each mark to determine whether it is capable, considering all relevant circumstances and case law.

See TMEP §1210.02(b)(iv) and cases cited therein regarding use of terms such as "AMERICA," "AMERICAN," and "USA" in a way that is primarily geographically descriptive under 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2), primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive under 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), or deceptive under 15 U.S.C. §1052(a).