TTAB Reverses Section 2(e)(2) Refusal of "CATALINA ISLAND GRANOLA": Goods/Place Association Lacking
The Board reversed a Section 2(e)(2) refusal of CATALINA ISLAND GRANOLA & Des. for "granola" [GRANOLA disclaimed], because the record failed to establish that purchasers would make a goods/place association between Catalina Island and granola. In re Zeller, Serial No. 77544307 (September 30, 2009) [not precedential].
The Examining Attorney maintained that the primary significance of "Catalina Island" is a generally-known geographic place, that Applicant is located there, and that purchasers would believe that her granola originates from Catalina Island.
Applicant Kathleen Hill Zeller argued that the "main effect of the mark is to suggest a certain lifestyle and relaxation associated with Catalina Island." She stated that the goods do not originate from there, and she asserted that consumers would not be likely to make a goods/place association between the goods and the Island.
The Board first observed that the addition of the word GRANOLA "does not convert a geographically descriptive term into a non-geographic term."
Next, it found that the primary significance of CATALINA ISLAND is geographic. The record was devoid of evidence to support Applicant's contention that the public would associate "Catalina Island" with a leisurely lifestyle. "[T]he fact that 'hordes' of tourists flock to Catalina Island every year is not evidence of how they perceive the term 'Catalina Island.'"
Finally, the Board considered whether the public would believe that the goods originate on Catalina Island. Ordinarily, when the geographical place is neither obscure or remote, a goods/place association may be presumed when the goods come from the place named in the mark. Here, "the record is devoid of any evidence that Catalina Island is a well-known geographic location, from which we could assume that a wide variety of goods and services originate." In fact, the record showed that the Island "has no agricultural concerns and little to no manufacturing or other industrial industries."
The Examining Attorney argued that Applicant is located in Avalon, a city on the Island; that although Applicant stated that she will not manufacture granola on the Island, Applicant has not excluded the sale of granola on the Island; and that goods such as granola often originate from and are sold in popular tourist destinations.
Applicant argued that the fact that her address is Catalina Island is of no import, and that there is no proof that granola is manufactured there.
The Board agreed with Applicant that "merely living on Catalina Island is not necessarily enough to establish a goods/place relationship." Nor is the location of a corporate headquarters enough. The Board saw "no evidence regarding applicant's presence on Catalina Island, save applicant's acknowledgment that her address is in Avalon, a city on Catalina Island. This falls short of establishing that the origin of applicant's goods is Catalina Island such that there is a goods/place association between CATALINA ISLAND in granola."
The burden was on the Examining Attorney to provide evidence to establish a goods/place association. However, there was no competent evidence that granola originates on Catalina island. Applicant declared that her goods will not originate there. "The notion that granola could be manufactured on Catalina Island is too speculative."
Finally, the fact that Applicant's goods will be sold on the Island is not enough to support the refusal. The Island "would have to be associated with granola in such a way that the consuming public would be likely to assume that CATALINA ISLAND was the place in which the granola originates or is somehow connected."
And so the Board reversed the refusal.
TTABlog comment: If I saw a package of Catalina Island Granola, I would think it originated from Catalina Island. California has great fruits and vegetables. Why wouldn't it have great granola? What do you need to produce granola? Major equipment? A factory? No, just a mixing bowl.
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2009.