TM Geographical Origin Follows the Goods Not the Designer

Can a designer of handbags fashion his former Parisian residence as the source of his designs for geographical origin purposes when his products are neither made nor designed in Paris?  Not according to The U.S. Court of Appeals Federal Circuit in the case of In Re Miracle Tuesday LLC   The Appeals Court affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board’s decision upholding the Trademark Examiner’s refusal to register the mark JPK PARIS 75 and design on grounds that it is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive under Section 2(e)(3) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(e)(3).

Miracle Tuesday LLC, “Company” filed an Intent to Use Application for the mark JPK PARIS 75 and design in connection with sunglasses, wallets, handbags and purses, travel bags, suitcases, belts, and shoes.

The Company was organized in Nevada with Florida being its principal place of business.  Its designer, Jean-Pierre Klifa, had been a Parisian resident for 22 years.  The letters JPK were the designer’s initials.  None of the items were designed, made or exhibited in Paris.  The Company contended its Parisian designer’s former residence qualified as the connecting source of such goods.  That in fashion source is with the designer instead of the location citing red carpet events where interviewers ask celebrities “who are you wearing?” rather than “where was it made?” as instructive on the issue of source materiality.  However, the Appeals Court found this insufficient noting that Paris was a recognized source of fashion, therefore carrying that mark on the Company’s goods would be deceptively misdescriptive without a connection to that source.

What if the Company employed a part-time designer in Paris?  Or exhibited the products in Paris?  If using a famous geographical origin in your mark, connecting it as a source can require creativity and diligence.

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