Brief Fact Summary. The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Appeal Board refused the mark NANTUCKET for men’s shirts on the grounds that it was â€œprimarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive.â€
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A mark may be found geographically deceptively misdescriptive when there is a reasonable basis for believing that purchasers are likely to be deceived.
Issue. Must a mark be found geographically deceptively misdescriptive when there is a reasonable basis for believing that purchasers are likely to be deceived?
Held. (Markey, C.J.)Â Yes.Â No evidence exists to demonstrate that the purchasing public would expect men’s shirts to have their origin in Nantucket when seen in the market place with NANTUCKET on them.Â Therefore, buyers are not likely to be deceived, and registration cannot be refused on the ground that the mark is â€œprimarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive.â€Â Reversed.
Discussion. The PTO’s mechanical test for registrability of geographical terms was clarified by this ruling.Â If the mark is recognizable to a large segment of the population as the name of a geographical area, the mark must be denied registration under the test.Â The court noted that one flaw in the Board’s test was not considering the nature of the applicant’s goods.