Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TTAB Denies Request for Reconsideration of REDNECK RIVIERA Decision

The Board denied Applicant's request for reconsideration of its January 6, 2015 decision [TTABlogged here] affirming a refusal to register the marks REDNECK RIVIERA and REDNECK RIVIERA FEST for entertainment services and hotel and restaurant services [FEST disclaimed]. The Board found no error in its original ruling that the mark is primarily geographically descriptive of the services under Section 2(e)(2). In re Rich Marks, LLC, Serial Nos. 85789873, 85789870, and 85784407 (on reconsideration, February 25, 2015) [not precedential].

The Board's original decision was based not only on collaborative website sources like the Urban Dictionary, as applicant contended, but also on national, regional and specialty periodicals and major broadcast networks, including ABC New, CBS News, the New York Times, and others. The Board reaffirmed its finding that "Redneck Riviera" is "a real, significant geographical place along the northeast coastline of the Gulf of Mexico ... and the term 'Redneck Riviera' has been an important part of the Southern vernacular for decades." That some individuals may derive from the ordinary meaning of the words, a pop-culture, slang meaning that reflects "any beautiful beach having inhabitants displaying the 'redneck' habits of poor, lower-class persons, thus evocative of a lifestyle beyond any particular zip code," "that possibility does not overcome the historical, primary geographical significance of the term 'Redneck Riviera.'"

Applicant also pointed to the recent CAFC decision reversing the TTAB's affirmance of a Section 2(e)(2) refusal of NEWBRIDGE HOME for "silverware, jewelry, and kitchen goods," and arguing that here, too, substantial evidence was lacking for the Board refusal. [TTABlogged here]. The Board, however, distinguished that case, which involved a foreign place name and a mixed record of evidence (including atlases that did not list the place). In contrast, here the overall evidence submitted by the examining attorney "cannot be said to be evenly 'mixed.'" In short, there is "a consistent showing of 'Redneck Riviera' as naming a specific geographical region by serious news outlets."

The purpose of a request for reconsideration, the Board noted, is to point out errors made by the Board in reaching its decision. After careful review of its decision, the Board found no error, and it denied the request for reconsideration.

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TTABlog note: Requests for reconsideration are almost never granted. They typically do nothing more than give the Board the opportunity to pound a few more nails into the coffin.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2015.


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