Exam_Guide_2-14_GeoCert.doc

Exam_Guide_2-14_GeoCert.doc - Examination Guide 2-14...

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Examination Guide 2-14 Geographic Certification Marks July 2014 I. BACKGROUND 1 II. EXAMINATION PROCEDURES 2 A. Identifying Geographic Certification Mark Applications 2 B. Elements of Geographic Certification Mark Applications 3 1. Certification Statement 3 a. Certification Statement Must Define the Relevant Region 3 b. Certification Statement May Also Refer to Other Characteristics 3 c. Form of Certification Statement 3 2. Certification Standards 4 3. Identification of Goods & Services 4 4. Classification of Goods & Services 4 5. Authority to Control a Geographic Certification Mark 4 6. Specimens of Use 5 C. Mark Must Serve to Certify Geographic Origin 5 D. Section 2(e)(2) Does Not Apply to Geographic Certification Marks 6 E. Geographically Deceptive Marks Not Registrable as Geographic Certification Marks 7 F. Treatment of Geographic Designations That Do Not Certify Regional Origin 7 G. Likelihood-of-Confusion Search and Analysis 7 H. Other Considerations 9 1. Same Mark Not Registrable as a Certification Mark and Another Type of Mark 9 2. American Viticultural Areas 10 3. Certification Marks Containing §2(b) Matter 10 III. EXAMPLES OF GEOGRAPHIC CERTIFICATION MARKS 11 This examination guide addresses the policies and procedures for examining geographic certification marks. Specifically, the guide describes the application requirements for geographic certification marks, explains the analysis for determining whether a mark functions to certify regional origin, discusses the relevant considerations for Section 2(d) likelihood-of-confusion determinations involving geographic certification marks, and provides examples illustrating some of the concepts covered. This guide supersedes any previous USPTO guidance on this topic. I. BACKGROUND A geographic certification mark is a word, name, symbol, device, or some combination of these elements, which certifies that goods or services originate in a particular geographic region. 1 As with any type of certification mark, a geographic certification mark is not used by its owner in the same way a trademark or service mark is. 2 Rather, the owner of a geographic certification mark controls use of the mark by other parties. 3 These parties apply the mark to goods or services to indicate to consumers that the goods or services have been certified as meeting the standards set forth by the certifier. 4 Thus, the goods or services to which a geographic certification mark is applied may emanate from a number of sources comprising various certified producers in the relevant region. 5
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A geographic certification mark may feature a recognized geographic term that identifies the relevant geographic region, 6 as in the marks ROQUEFORT for cheese, 7 DARJEELING for tea, 8 and COLOMBIAN for coffee. 9 Or the mark may contain a variation or abbreviation of a geographic term or a combination of different geographic terms, with or without other matter.
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