Where in the world? Geographical origins in Trademarks

Posted by Jane on June 21, 2013 / Posted in Trade Marks
Where in the world? Geographical origins in Trademarks

If you are planning to register a trade mark, first consider whether the words or logos you have chosen contain any information denoting the origin of your product.

If your product is not in fact produced in the region you wish to include in the name of your trade mark but is merely in the style of a product associated with that region, traders who actually operate in that area are left at a disadvantage. You would be falsely representing the origin of your product and misleading the consumer.

Naming certain geographical locations could obviously have implications about the quality of your product. It is well known that Italian leather is a highly regarded material for making shoes; however the word ‘Italian’ itself could not be included in a trade mark for a shoe making company.

Even ‘American-style’ or ‘imitation French’ would be unacceptable as part of the name of a trade mark. Only by way of a collective mark, often applied to local produce eg) Florida oranges, can the use of a geographical location in a product name be protected. In this way, all the legitimate local traders can cite the origin of the goods as a mark of quality, but anyone making a similar product outside of the region couldn’t include the name of that region in a trade mark.


Stephanie Thomas, University of Birmingham

Jane Coyle
This entry was posted on June 21, 2013 and is filed under Trade Marks. You can follow our blog through the RSS 2.0 feed.