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Geographically deceptive misdescriptiveness cannot be determined without considering whether the public associates the goods with the place which the mark names. If the goods do not come from the place named, and the public makes no goods-place association, the public is not deceived and the mark is accordingly not geographically deceptively misdescriptive.
Appellant Nantucket, which was based in North Carolina, filed application serial number 162,716 for registration of NANTUCKET for men’s shirts on the principal register in the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Nantucket informed the PTO that its shirts did not originate from Nantucket Island, and insisted that the mark would not be understood by purchasers as representing that the shirts were produced there because the island has no market place significance vis-a-vis men's shirts. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), in passing on whether appellant could register the mark "Nantucket" for its men's shirts under § 2(e)(2) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.S. § 1052(e)(2), determined that the term conveyed a recognizable geographical connotation, and the goods did not come from there, so the goods were geographically deceptively misdescriptive. Appellant’s application was denied. Appellant challenged the decision.
Did the board err in refusing registration of NANTUCKET for shirts on the principal register in view of § 2(e)(2)?
The court reversed the determination of the trademark board, holding the test was improper, because it contravened that part of the statute when applied to the goods of the applicant. The Court held that registration was to be denied only when the mark was geographically descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of the goods themselves. Further, this determination could not be made without considering whether the public would associate the goods with the place named by the mark. The Court held that there was no evidence that the public would expect men's shirts to have their origin in Nantucket.