TMEP 1215.06: Marks Containing Geographical Matter

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1215.06    Marks Containing Geographical Matter

The examining attorney should examine marks containing geographic matter along with a gTLD in the same manner that any mark containing geographic matter is examined. See generally TMEP §§1210–1210.10. Depending on the manner in which it is used on or in connection with the goods or services, a proposed domain name mark containing a geographic term may be primarily geographically descriptive under §2(e)(2) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2), primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive under §2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), deceptive under §2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), and/or merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive under §2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(1).

When a geographic term is used as a mark for services that are provided on the Internet, the geographic term sometimes describes the subject of the service rather than the geographic origin of the service. Usually this occurs when the mark is composed of a geographic term that describes the subject matter of information services (e.g., NEW ORLEANS.COM for “providing vacation planning information about New Orleans, Louisiana by means of the global computer network”). In these cases, the examining attorney must refuse registration under §2(e)(1) because the mark is merely descriptive of the services. See TMEP §1210.02(b)(iii).