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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.


The opinions expressed are those of the authors on the date noted above and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fish & Richardson P.C., any other of its lawyers, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This post is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed.