TTAB Test: Is REDNECK RIVIERA Geographically Descriptive of Entertainment Services?
The USPTO refused to register the marks REDNECK RIVIERA and REDNECK RIVIERA FEST for entertainment services and hotel and restaurant services [FEST disclaimed] on the ground that the mark is primarily geographically descriptive of the services under Section 2(e)(2). Examining Attorney April K. Roach contended that "Redneck Riviera" is a recognized term that refers to the Florida panhandle. Applicant argued that the term is used not to identify a particular geographic location, but rather to "reflect one’s subjective view of any 'Riviera'-quality beach where 'redneck' activities occur." How do you think this came out? In re Rich Marks, LLC, Serial Nos. 85789873, 85789870, and 85784407 (January 6, 2015) [not precedential].
The record evidence, consisting of dictionary definitions, newspaper articles, television reports, and website references, consistently referred to a particular geographic region along the Florida panhandle as the "Redneck Riviera." The fact that the term may also have a connotation related to ambiance or life-style does not obviate the geographical significance, the Board observed.
Moreover, when the REDNECK RIVIERA is used in connection with entertainment and restaurant services, consumers would principally regard the term as referring to the geographic region widely known by that name. Applicant Rich failed to provide any evidence that REDNECK RIVIERA would be suggestive rather than geographical.
Applicant indicated that it "reserved its right" to offer the identified services in the Florida panhandle. The Board therefore presumed a services/place association. The addition of the word FEST in one of the two marks did not avoid the Section 2(e)(2) refusal.
The Board declined to reach the USPTO's alternative Section 2(e)(3) refusal.
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TTABlog note: Rumor has it that the next INTA mid-year meeting will be in Panama City, the hub of the Redneck Riviera!
Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.