TMEP 1210.05(d)(i): Neither Applicant Nor Goods/Services Come from the Place Named

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1210.05(d)(i)    Neither Applicant Nor Goods/Services Come from the Place Named

To ensure that no geographically deceptively misdescriptive marks claiming use in commerce or acquired distinctiveness prior to December 8, 1993 are registered on the Supplemental Register or under §2(f) when it is clear that neither the applicant nor the goods/services come from the place named in the mark, the examining attorney must determine whether the misdescription would be material and follow the procedures outlined below:

  • If the examining attorney determines that the misdescription would not be material to the decision to purchase, no refusal should be made. If the application is otherwise in condition for publication, the examining attorney should approve the mark for publication.
  • If the examining attorney determines that the misdescription would be material to the decision to purchase, and the application claims use in commerce prior to December 8, 1993, the examining attorney must issue a nonfinal refusal under §2(a), supported by appropriate evidence.
  • If the examining attorney determines that the misdescription would be material to the decision to purchase, and the application does not claim use prior to December 8, 1993, the examining attorney must issue nonfinal refusals under §§2(e)(3) and 2(a), supported by appropriate evidence.

Depending upon the applicant’s response to a nonfinal refusal under §§2(e)(3) and 2(a), the examining attorney will ultimately issue a final refusal under either §2(e)(3) or §2(a):

  • If the applicant’s response does not claim use or acquired distinctiveness prior to December 8, 1993, the examining attorney must withdraw the §2(a) refusal and issue a final refusal under §2(e)(3), if otherwise appropriate.
  • In the rare circumstance that the applicant responds by claiming use prior to December 8, 1993 and amends to the Supplemental Register, or establishes that the mark acquired distinctiveness under §2(f) prior to December 8, 1993, to ensure that a geographically deceptively misdescriptive mark will not be allowed to register, the examining attorney must withdraw the §2(e)(3) refusal and issue a final refusal under §2(a), if otherwise appropriate.

In re S. Park Cigar, Inc., 82 USPQ2d 1507, 1509, n.3 (TTAB 2007). See also Corporacion Habanos, S.A. v. Guantanamera Cigars Co., 86 USPQ2d 1473, 1475 (TTAB 2008) (Board considered only the §2(e)(3) claim in opposition based on both §§2(a) and 2(e)(3)); In re Beaverton Foods, Inc., 84 USPQ2d 1253, 1257 (TTAB 2007) (“[W]here an applicant is seeking registration for a mark with a geographic term on the Principal Register under Section 2(f) based on a claim that the mark had acquired distinctiveness prior to December 8, 1993, a geographically deceptive mark is properly refused registration under Section 2(a). Nothing in the statute or legislative history dictates otherwise. Moreover, this analysis is consistent with the practice of the USPTO.”).