TMEP 1306.05(f): Geographic Designations that Do Not Certify Regional Origin

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1306.05(f)    Geographic Designations that Do Not Certify Regional Origin

Sometimes, a geographic designation in a certification mark is not used to certify the geographic origin of the goods or services. For example, a certification mark includes the word “California,” but is used to certify that the fruits and vegetables to which it is applied are organically grown. The word “California” may or may not describe the geographic origin of the goods, but, in this instance, it is not being used to certify that the goods originate in California. If a geographic designation in a certification mark is primarily geographically descriptive of the goods or services, and the certification mark’s purpose, as indicated by the certification statement, is to certify something other than geographic origin, the examining attorney must refuse registration under Trademark Act §2(e)(2), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2), or require a disclaimer, as appropriate. If a geographic designation in a non-geographic certification mark is geographically deceptive as applied to the goods or services, the mark must be refused under §2(a) 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), or §2(e)(3), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), as appropriate.

See TMEP §§1210-1210.07(b) for information on refusals under §§2(a), 2(e)(2), and 2(e)(3), including when it is appropriate to issue refusals in the alternative.