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Archived updates for Monday, August 04, 2008

"CHINATOWN BRASSERIE" Not Primarily Geographically Deceptively Misdescriptive for Restaurant 1/2 Mile Outside of NYC's Chinatown, Says TTAB

Thanks to John Welch at the TTABlog for pointing out In re Lafayette Street Partners, LLC, (July 9, 2008, not precedential) where the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reversed a refusal to register the mark CHINATOWN BRASSERIE & Design (with BRASSERIE disclaimed) as being primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive for restaurant services, even though Applicant's restaurant is located one-half mile outside of New York City's Chinatown:

On this record we conclude that the primary significance of CHINATOWN, as used
in the CHINATOWN BRASSERIE mark, is not that of a generally known geographic
location – at least not in the sense intended by the Trademark Act. The record
indicates that “CHINATOWN” is used generally to refer to neighborhoods with a
predominantly Chinese population. The record indicates further that, in the case
of New York City, the city where applicant’s restaurant is located, there is more than one CHINATOWN. Also, the “CHINATOWN” which is only ½ mile from applicant’s restaurant, is a consistently-expanding neighborhood.

. . . Turning to the issue of a possible services-place association, we conclude that there is none here. . . .

. . . The Examining Attorney has provided evidence to show that the CHINATOWN in Lower Manhattan has many Chinese restaurants and that those restaurants are noted for their Chinese cuisine. However, we fail to see how someone dining in a restaurant ½ mile away would connect the services in applicant’s restaurant in a meaningful way with the services offered in restaurants in CHINATOWN, however that is defined. We have no evidence that the CHINATOWN in Lower Manhattan, nor any other one, is associated with a distinct type or style of Chinese cuisine. Neither the quality, nor the authenticity, nor any other feature of the restaurant services offered within the “borders” of CHINATOWN would necessarily differ in a meaningful way from the same services offered ½ mile away at another restaurant featuring Chinese cuisine. While a tourist may be confused about the location of the restaurant and/or the nuances of the neighborhood borders, this is not relevant to any services-place association delineated in Les Halles.

Therefore, we conclude, on this record, that there is no services-place association between the services and the mark at issue here. Furthermore, it also logically follows that, since we find no misrepresentation, we also conclude that there is no material effect on the purchasing decision.

"So there you have it," quips Welch. "Some poor sap who thinks he's in Chinatown because he's eating at the CHINATOWN BRASSERIE is actually not in Chinatown at all. Is he being deceived? I think so."
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Blogger nerinossa said...

July 23, 2008 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if there is no Chinatown in the city in which the Chinatown Brasserie is located? And the restaurant is but one of a franchise with that name?

July 23, 2008 1:49 PM  

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