Thursday, January 08, 2015

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 In re Rich Marks, LLC, Serial Nos. 85789873, 85789870, and 85784407 (January 6, 2015) [not precedential].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.


Read comments and post your comment here

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.

8 Comments:

At 9:32 AM, Anonymous neh said...

They cite the Augusta Chronicle in support of the denial. Here is an article from the Augusta Chronicle that refers to Myrtle Beach as a Redneck riviera: http://old.chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2005/12/11/met_31556.shtml

"The Myrtle Beach area, with its golf courses, campgrounds, water slides and ubiquitous beachwear shops, has long been known as a family beach - blue-collar to some, a redneck Riviera to those less charitable."

 
At 9:36 AM, Blogger John L. Welch said...

Well that wasn't in evidence, apparently, but the evidence regarding the Florida panhandle was extensive. Suppose REDNECK RIVIERA could refer to either SC or FLA. Wouldn't it still be geographically descriptive for services rendered in FLA?

 
At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Miriam Richter, Fort Lauderdale said...

I've lived in S. Florida for over 20 years and neither I nor anyone in my office has ever heard the panhandle referred to by that name. Upon seeing the term for the first time today, I immediately "got" what it meant but NOT where it was! I was sure it had to be a pro se applicant and was shocked to see it was a large firm that handled it! This was a perfect case for a survey.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous neh said...

Devil's advocate: Would it change anything if there were 15+ regions that were also commonly referred to as the redneck riviera? I have heard Daytona Beach called the redneck riviera. I think that would be persuasive evidence in favor of the applicant to show that it is a beach that is easily accessible or often visited by "rednecks". Although I tend to agree with the board that the area around Panama City / Orange Beach is indeed to "real" redneck riviera.

 
At 11:37 AM, Blogger John L. Welch said...

I agree with you, neh. If there were fifteen, then the term is more like a "lifestyle" descriptor than a geographical descriptor.

 
At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Carole Barrett said...

Leadership 2016 is scheduled for Panama City...Panama not Panama City ...FL

 
At 1:42 PM, OpenID kwimberly said...

As one born in South Carolina, I'm offended that this application did not receive a disparagement refusal. (not really, but you get my point) If the group THE SLANTS can't get a registration...?

Do we just accept the disparaging "redneck" term here because it's used in a presumably positive context?

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger John L. Welch said...

Nevermind.

 

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