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Articles

Trademarking Area Codes?

July 18, 2011

Articles

Trademarking Area Codes?

July 18, 2011

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Does using an area code to designate a product get around trademark law’s requirement that terms that are geographically descriptive must acquire distinctiveness before they are protected as trademarks?  If consumers encounter an area code being used as a trademark, will consumers likely think that product comes from the region identified by the code, or will it be viewed as a tribute to the region?   Perhaps we’ll see if A-B expands its use of area codes.  The USPTO generally does not consider area codes to be merely geographically descriptive and thus area codes used as trademarks are registrable without a showing of acquired distinctiveness.

In addition to the boston.com article, World Trademark Review also posted a blog post about this: http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/daily/Detail.aspx?g=274b4d20-989a-4eaa-bae0-2c251fe53482

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