Test Your TTAB Judge-Ability: Is ACHOUFFE Primarily Geographically Descriptive of Beer?
The PTO refused registration of the mark ACHOUFFE for beer, finding the mark to be primarily geographically descriptive under Section 2(e)(2). Applicant appealed. The question was whether Achouffe is a name of a place generally known to the public. [Customer: Achouffe! Bartender: Gesundheit!] How do you think this came out? In re Brasserie D’Achouffe, Société Anonyme, Serial No. 79107741 (September 26, 2013) [not precedential].
There was no dispute that Achouffe is the name of a small village in the municipality of Houffalize, located in the Wallonia region of Belgium. The Examining Attorney, relying on several websites and blogs, contended that "beer drinkers, especially those who drink Belgian beer, are familiar with the town of Achouffe."
The Board, however, found the PTO's evidence insufficient to show that Achouffe is a geographic location that is generally known to the relevant consuming public, namely, prospective beer drinkers. [what about current beer drinkers? - ed.]. The evidence showed that Achouffe is "very much an obscure location and would be relatively unknown to the relevant American consumer." At most, it would be known to persons intimately familiar with applicant's beer, and more specifically, those who had visited the town of Achouffe.
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Text Copyright John L. Welch 2013.