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Can i register a city name as a trademark ?

Morocco, IN |

operate a coffee shop called : caffe de X

Attorney Answers 4


  1. If you are doing business in the US and will seek advertisements and readers in the US, then you should register your business in the US state where your business is based. Also check your county and city business tax requirements. The annual fees for all three of these are minimal depending on the state, county and city you register in. Get an attorney to advise you on proper business formation - coporation, LLC, etc.

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  2. No, you cannot "trademark" geographical terms. To do so would give you exclusive right to use the geographical term. However, you can use geographical terms in a business name.


  3. You cannot apply to register solely a city name as a trademark. The applied-for mark would be rejected as geographically descriptive of the origin of applicant’s goods and/or services. See Trademark Act Section 2(e)(2), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2). A mark is primarily geographically descriptive when the following is demonstrated:

    (1) The primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic place or location;

    (2) The goods and/or services for which applicant seeks registration originate in the geographic place identified in the mark; and

    (3) Purchasers would be likely to make a goods-place or services-place association; that is, purchasers would be likely to believe that the goods and/or services originate in the geographic place identified in the mark.

    In some instances, trademark examiners have allowed the incorporation of a city within a multi-word mark if the name of the city is disclaimed. In other instances examiners have required such multi-word marks containing the name of a city to be filed on the Supplemental Register rather than the Principal Register.

    If you are still considering filing such a mark, I strongly suggest you consult trademark counsel before moving forward.

    Best of luck.

    The information that is placed in this response is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship with Thomas P. Howard, Esq., nor is it intended to be relied upon as a replacement for legal advice from an attorney.


  4. Only a trademark or IP attorney should answer this. The answer is counterintuitive and most attorneys have the wrong view. The actual answer is Yes. You may have to start on what is called the Supplemental Register, a separate register set up for marks "capable of becoming distinctive". After 5 years of continuous exclusive use and substantial marketing and use you may be able to establish the mark has become distinctive of your goods and services.

    Geographical terms are in the category of descriptive terms that are considered capable of becoming distinctive through attachment of sufficient secondary meaning through advertising and widespread use. Ex. PHILADELPHIA for cream cheese by Kraft. http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=doc&state=4010:y005gv.3.5, ARIZONA for tea.http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=74622105&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch, HOUSTON for printing fontshttp://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=77370066&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch.; ATLANTA magazine http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=85530708&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

    See WYOMING for kitchen cabinets http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=76166609&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

    There are many, many famous registered geographical trademark examples: LONDON FOG, VIRGINIA SLIMS, SEATTLE'S BEST, LA GEAR, etc.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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