TMEP 1210.04: Goods/Place or Services/Place Association

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1210.04    Goods/Place or Services/Place Association

Refusal of registration under §2(e)(2), §2(e)(3), or §2(a) requires that there be a goods/place or services/place association such that the public is likely to believe that the goods or services originate in the place identified in the mark.

To show that there is a goods/place or services/place association, the examining attorney may provide such evidence as excerpts from telephone directories, gazetteers, encyclopedias, geographic dictionaries, the LexisNexis® database, or the results of an Internet search.

The examining attorney should also examine the specimen(s) and any other evidence in the record that shows the context in which the applicant’s mark is used. See In re Broyhill Furniture Indus., Inc., 60 USPQ2d 1511, 1517 (TTAB 2001) (finding that applicant’s point of purchase display catalogs “foster a goods/place association between its furniture and Tuscany by referring to ‘Europe’s Mediterranean coast’ and ‘European sensibility’”); and In re Nantucket Allserve Inc., 28 USPQ2d 1144, 1146 (TTAB 1993) (finding that applicant’s product labels bore a picture of Nantucket, stated that the goods were “born” or “created” on Nantucket and “[embody] the wholesome quality of the Island whose name they bear,” and mentioned no other geographic location). Note, however, that evidence other than the mark found on a specimen, which provides further information as to source, does not negate the geographic deceptive misdescriptiveness that may be conveyed by the mark itself. In re Premiere Distillery, LLC, 103 USPQ2d 1483, 1486-87 (TTAB 2012); In re Compania de Licores Internacionales S.A., 102 USPQ2d 1841, 1848-49 (TTAB 2012) (finding the statements “brand,” “Cuban Style Rum,” and “Product of the USA” on applicant’s label do not negate the primary geographically deceptive misdescriptiveness of the OLD HAVANA mark).

When the geographic significance of a term is its primary significance and the geographic place is neither obscure nor remote, for purposes of §2(e)(2), the goods/place or services/place association may ordinarily be presumed from the fact that the applicant’s goods or services originate (see TMEP §1210.03) in or near the place named in the mark. In re Spirits of New Merced, LLC, 85 USPQ2d 1614, 1621 (TTAB 2007) (YOSEMITE BEER held geographically descriptive of beer produced and sold in a brewpub in Merced, California, the Board stating that “[s]ince the goods originate at or near [Yosemite National Park], we can presume an association of applicant’s beer with the park.”); In re Joint-Stock Co. “Baik,” 80 USPQ2d 1305 (TTAB 2006) (BAIKALSKAYA – the Russian equivalent of from Baikal” or “Baikal’s” – held primarily geographically descriptive of vodka made from water piped from Lake Baikal, the Board presuming a goods/place association “because applicant is located near Lake Baikal, in the city of Irkutsk.”); In re JT Tobacconists, 59 USPQ2d 1080 (TTAB 2001) (MINNESOTA CIGAR COMPANY held primarily geographically descriptive of cigars); In re U.S. Cargo, Inc., 49 USPQ2d 1702 (TTAB 1998) (U.S. CARGO primarily geographically descriptive of towable trailers carrying cargo and vehicles); In re Carolina Apparel, 48 USPQ2d 1542 (TTAB 1998) (CAROLINA APPAREL primarily geographically descriptive of retail clothing store services); In re Chalk’s Int’l Airlines Inc., 21 USPQ2d 1637 (TTAB 1991) (PARADISE ISLAND AIRLINES held primarily geographically descriptive of the transportation of passengers and goods by air, because the applicant’s services included flights to and from Paradise Island, Bahamas, even though the flights were not based there); In re Cal. Pizza Kitchen Inc., 10 USPQ2d 1704 (TTAB 1988) (CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN held primarily geographically descriptive of restaurant services that originate in California); In re Handler Fenton Westerns, Inc., 214 USPQ 848 (TTAB 1982) (DENVER WESTERNS held primarily geographically descriptive of western-style shirts originating in Denver).

This presumption is rebuttable. See TMEP §1210.04(c) regarding obscure or remote places, and TMEP §§1210.02–1210.02(c)(iii) regarding the primary significance of a geographic term.

It is more difficult to establish a services/place association than a goods/place association when making a refusal under §§2(e)(3) and 2(a). In re Les Halles De Paris J.V., 334 F.3d 1371, 1374, 67 USPQ2d 1539, 1542 (Fed. Cir. 2003). See TMEP §1210.04(a) regarding establishment of a goods/place association, and TMEP §1210.04(b) regarding establishment of a services/place association.