Don’t Attempt to Trademark Geographic Locations Where Your Products Are Not Made

Applicant tried to register VENEZIA-MILANO for women’s and men’s clothing products. The TTAB denied registration while discussing three interesting trademark fundamentals.

FIRST: Any time an Applicant files for a trademark containing non-English words, the foreign terms are translated into English. In this case, the Italian words VENEZIA-MILANO were converted into the English equivalent “Venice-Milan” before the turning to the substantive analysis on whether the mark could be registered.

SECOND: The mark was refused registration because the TTAB held that VENEZIA-MILANO was geographically deceptively misdescriptive of clothing that was not manufactured in Venice or Milan, Italy. The products were actually made in China.

THIRD: While geographically descriptive marks (e.g., VENIZIA-MILANO for clothing made in Venice and Milan, Italy) can be registered if the Applicant can successfully show the mark has become distinctive and has begun functioning as a trademark, geographically deceptively misdescriptive marks are not eligible for trademark protection…regardless of time and effort and money an applicant may spend trying to train the consuming public to recognize the geographic terms as its trademark.

Image Courtesy of: Pedro Szekely Used under Creative Commons license.

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