TMEP 1210: Refusal on Basis of Geographic Significance

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1210    Refusal on Basis of Geographic Significance

15 U.S.C. §1052   (Extract)

No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it–

  • (a) Consists of or comprises... deceptive... matter;… or a geographical indication which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identifies a place other than the origin of the goods and is first used on or in connection with wines or spirits by the applicant on or after [January 1, 1996].

    ...

  • (e) Consists of a mark which... (2) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically descriptive of them, except as indications of regional origin may be registrable under section 1054 of this title, (3) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of them....

Section 2(e)(2) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2), prohibits registration on the Principal Register of a mark that is primarily geographically descriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(a).

Section 2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), prohibits registration of a mark that is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(b). Prior to the amendment of the Trademark Act on January 1, 1994, by the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”) Implementation Act, Public Law 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057, the statutory basis for refusal to register primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive marks was §2(e)(2).

Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), prohibits registration of a designation that consists of or comprises deceptive matter, as well as geographical indications which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identify a place other than the origin of the goods. See TMEP §§1210.01(c) and 1210.08.

See TMEP §1210.05(c) regarding the distinction between marks that are primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive under §2(e)(3) and marks that are deceptive under §2(a).