TMEP 1306.05(h): American Viticultural Areas

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1306.05(h)    American Viticultural Areas

American Viticultural Areas (AVA) are defined grape-growing regions in the United States, created on petition by interested parties through the federal rulemaking process. AVA designations appear on wine labels and “allow vintners and consumers to attribute a given quality, reputation, or other characteristic of a wine made from grapes grown in an area to its geographic origin.” Thus, these designations facilitate the accurate description of wine origins and aid consumers in identifying wines. See U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, American Viticultural Area (AVA), http://www.ttb.gov/wine/ava.shtml (accessed June 30, 2014). The currently recognized AVA designations can be found at 27 C.F.R. §§9.22-9.233. In addition, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury provides an up-to-date alphabetical list of the designations at http://www.ttb.gov/appellation/us_by_ava.pdf.

Although AVA designations are similar to geographic certification marks in terms of their purpose and function, these designations raise complex issues when included in applied-for marks of any type. Thus, if an applied-for mark of any type contains an AVA designation, the assigned examining attorney must consult the Administrator for Trademark Policy and Procedure before taking any action on the application.