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Archived updates for Wednesday, May 17, 2006

New U.S. Exam Guide for Wine and Spirit Trademarks

On May 9, 2006, the USPTO ussued Exam Guide 1-06 regarding "Geographical Indications Used on Wines and Spirits." The purpose of this exam guide is to clarify the circumstances under which an examining attorney must refuse to register a mark for wines or spirits that includes a geographical indication. This exam guide supersedes current TMEP §1210.08.

Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), prohibits the registration of a designation that includes "a geographical indication which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identifies a place other than the origin of the goods.” This provision was added by the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, implementing the Trade Related Intellectual Property ("TRIPs") portions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ("GATT") . Article 23 of the “TRIPS Agreement” prohibits the registration of geographic al indications for wines or spirits that identify a place that is not the origin of the goods.

Neither the Trademark Act nor the TRIP S Agreement define the term “spirits.” However, according to the Exam Guide, the term “spirits” refers to any distilled alcoholic beverage ( e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, brandy).

The procedures set forth in the exam guide apply if the applicant's identification of goods 1) specifically includes wines or spirits, or 2) describes the goods using broad terms that could include wines or spirits ( e.g., alcoholic beverages). The provisions do not apply to geographical indications that the applicant first used on or in connection with wines or spirits prior to January 1, 1996, and does not apply to designations used on or in connection with beer. The provisions also do not apply to goods that are not wines or spirits, but are partially composed of wines or spirits ( e.g., wine vinegar; wine sauces; wine jelly; rum balls; bourbon chicken).

The following chart highlights the differences between the refusals that may apply when a
geographical indication used on or in connection with wines and spirits identifies a place other
than the true origin of the goods:

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Blogger brett said...

This is fascinating.
I’d been taught that left-aligned labels are preferred, to support the prototypical F-shaped eye-tracking heatmap of web browsing. The idea is that it supports easy vertical scanning.

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March 05, 2010 8:42 AM  

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