Yes. See answers to questions 1 and 14, above.
[Answer 1: The United States provides protection for geographical indications in a variety of ways, including by unfair competition law, by federal and state statute, and by regulation. Applications For Federal Trademark Registration: With respect to the federal registration of trademarks, Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), incorporates the prohibitions contained in Articles 23.1, 23.2, and 23.3 of the TRIPS Agreement, in the following manner. Section 2(a) prohibits, in pertinent part: "registration of marks which consist of or comprise] a geographical indication which, when used on or in connection with wines or spirits, identifies a place other than the origin of the goods and is first used on or in connection with wines or spirits by the applicant on or after one year after the date on which the WTO Agreement (as defined in section 2(9) of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act) enters into force with respect to the United States". In addition, Section 2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), prohibits registration on the Principal Register of a mark which is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of the goods or services named in the application. Such a mark may not be registered on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register, except in cases where the mark acquired distinctiveness or was in lawful use in commerce prior to 8 December 1993, the date of enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Public Law 103-182, 107 Stat. 2057. A mark which is unregistrable under §2(e)(3) may be considered for registration on the Principal Register in accordance with §2(f) only upon a showing that the mark became distinctive of the applicant's goods or services in commerce before 8 December 1993. 15 U.S.C. §§1052(e)(3) and 1052(f). A mark which is unregistrable under §2(e)(3) may be considered for registration on the Supplemental Register, in accordance with §23, only if it has been in lawful use in commerce by the owner since before 8 December 1993. 15 U.S.C. §§1052(e)(3) and 1091. See TMEP §1210.06. Thus, the mere presence of a misdescriptive geographical indication in a mark used to identify wines or spirits requires a refusal to register under Sections 2(a) and 2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, because the misdescriptive term (with respect to wines and spirits) is presumptively deemed deceptive. Use on Labels Controlled by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF): Even if a party does not apply for federal registration of a trademark incorporating a misdescriptive geographical indication, such use on labels is proscribed by the relevant regulations promulgated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is charged with the administration and enforcement of federal laws relating to the taxation, labeling and advertising of alcoholic beverage products. Among these laws, the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, 27 U.S.C. §§201, et. seq., prohibits the sale of alcohol beverage products that are not labelled in conformity with regulations intended to prohibit consumer deception and to provide the consumer with adequate information about the identity of the product. ATF regulations promulgating section 205, as pertaining to wines and distilled spirits, are in 27 C.F.R. Parts 4 and 5, respectively. - Wines: Labeling Title 27, C.F.R. section 4.39 enumerates prohibited practices with respect to labeling of wine. Under 27 C.F.R. §4.39(a)(1), labels of wine may not contain "[a]ny statement that is false or untrue in any particular, or that, irrespective of falsity, directly or by ambiguity, omission or interference, or by the addition of scientific or technical matter, tends to create a misleading impression." Furthermore, under 27 C.F.R. §4.39(i), generally, a brand name of viticultural significance may not be used unless the wine meets the appellation of origin requirements for the geographic area named. A name has viticultural significance when it is the name of a state or county (or the foreign equivalents), when approved as a viticultural area, or by a foreign government, or when found to have viticultural significance by the Director of ATF. 27 C.F.R. §4.39(i)(3). In addition, under 27 C.F.R. §4.39(j), product names with specific geographical significance may not be used on labels, unless the Director of ATF finds that, because of their long usage, such names are recognized by consumers as fanciful product names and not representative of origin. In such cases, the product names must be qualified with the word "brand" immediately following the product name, in the same size of type, and as conspicuous as the product name itself. Also, in such cases, the label must bear an appellation of origin and, if required by the Director, a statement disclaiming the geographical reference as a representation as to the origin of the wine. In addition, 27 C.F.R. §4.39(k) prohibits on wine labels the use of "[o]ther statements, designs, devices or representations which indicate or infer an origin other than the true place of origin of the wine". Note that under 27 C.F.R. §4.33, brand names on wine labels that are misleading as to age, origin, identity or other characteristics of the product are prohibited. - Wines: Advertisements Title 27 C.F.R. section 4.64 enumerates prohibited practices with respect to advertising for wines. Under 27 C.F.R. §4.64(a)(1), a wine advertisement may not contain "any statement that is false or untrue in any material particular, or that, irrespective of falsity, directly, or by ambiguity, omission or inference, or by the addition of irrelevant, scientific or technical matter, tends to create a misleading impression". In addition, 27 C.F.R. §4.64(g), sets forth that "[n]o statement, design, device, or representation which tends to create the impression that the wine originated in a particular place or region, shall appear in any advertisement unless the label of the advertised product bears an appellation of origin, and such appellation of origin appears in the advertisement in direct conjunction with the class and type designation". - Spirits: Labeling Under 27 C.F.R. §5.34, no label of distilled spirits may contain any brand name, which standing alone, or in association with other printed or graphic matter, creates any impression or inference as to the age, origin, identify or other characteristics of the product. In addition, under 27 C.F.R. §5.42(a), statements on labels of distilled spirits may not contain "[a]ny statement that is false or untrue in any particular, or that, irrespective of falsity, directly or by ambiguity, omission or interference, or by the addition of scientific or technical matter, tends to create a misleading impression". All labels of distilled spirits products must disclose the products' class and type: 27 C.F.R. §5.32. As such, geographical names for distinctive types of distilled spirits may not apply to any distilled spirits produced in any other place than the particular region indicated by the name: 27 C.F.R. §5.22(k)(1). There are several exceptions to this rule. For instance, if in direct conjunction with the name there appears the word "type" or the word "American" or some other adjective indicating the true place of production, in letters substantially as conspicuous as such name, such geographical name may be allowed: 27 C.F.R. §5.22(k)(1). Or, if the Director of ATF specifically finds that such geographical name has, by usage and common knowledge lost its geographical significance to such extent that it has become generic, such name may also be used: 27 C.F.R. §5.22(k)(2). ATF applies these rules in a manner authorized by and consistent with Article 24 of the TRIPS Agreement. However, under 27 C.F.R. §5.22(k)(3), geographical names that are not names for distinctive types of distilled spirits, that have not become generic, shall not be applied to distilled spirits produced in any other place than the particular place or region indicated by that name. - Spirits: Advertisements Title 27, C.F.R. section 5.65 enumerates prohibited practices with respect to advertising of spirits. Specifically, 27 C.F.R. §5.65(a)(1) prohibits use of "[a]ny statement that is false or untrue in any particular, or that, irrespective of falsity, directly, or by ambiguity, omission, or inference, or by the addition of irrelevant, scientific or technical matter, tends to create a misleading impression". Rights Established Through Actual Use - "Common Law" Rights Although not a system of protection, rights in a geographical indication may be created through actual use and without applying for recognition either as a trademark or certification mark.]
[Answer 14: ATF Regulations ATF regulations prohibiting the misleading labeling and advertising of wines also include prohibitions against the misleading use of “sound-alike” geographical indications for wines. See 27 C.F.R. §§4.39, 4.64 . In regards to the labeling of wines, 27 C.F.R. §4.39(a)(8) prohibits the use of coined words or names that tend to create a misleading impression. Section 4.39(a)(8) states: "[Labels may not contain] Any coined word or name in the brand name or class and type designation which simulates, imitates, or which tends to create the impression that the wine so labelled is entitled to bear, any class type, or permitted designation recognized by the regulations in this part unless such wine conforms to the requirements prescribed with respect to such designation and in fact so designated on its labels". Therefore, use of a coined word or name which simulates or imitates a geographical indication would be prohibited under Section 4.39(a)(8), if the word or name created a false impression as to any labeling element required under 27 C.F.R. Part 4. Section 4.64 enumerates prohibited practices with respect to advertising for wines. As such, statements, designs, devices, or representations which tend to create the impression that the wine originated in a particular place or region (e.g., use of a sound-alike name) are prohibited unless the label of the advertised product bears an appellation of origin, and such appellation of origin appears in the advertisement in direct conjunction with the class and type designation. Application for Federal Trademark Registration Under standard principles of U.S. trademark law, words that sound like a generic, descriptive, or deceptively misdescriptive term can be refused registration. Although there is no "correct" pronunciation of a mark, where the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) can demonstrate that a proposed mark contains the phonetic equivalent of a geographical indication, the mark is treated precisely as if the geographical indication were properly spelled. Specifically, Section 2(a) is an absolute bar to the registration of any geographical designation that was first used in commerce on or in connection with wines or spirits on or after 1 January 1996, if it identifies a place other than the origin of the goods. Neither a disclaimer of the geographical designation nor a claim that it has acquired distinctiveness under §2(f) can obviate a §2(a) refusal if the mark consists of or comprises a geographical indication which identifies a place other than the origin of wines or spirits. Similarity in sound is one consideration in determining whether there is a likelihood of confusion between marks. There is no "correct" pronunciation of a trademark because it is impossible to predict how the public will pronounce a particular mark. Thus, "correct" pronunciation cannot be relied upon to avoid a likelihood of confusion. See, e.g., In re Great Lakes Canning, Inc., 227 USPQ 483 (TTAB 1985) (CAYNA (stylized) for soft drinks held likely to be confused with CANA for, inter alia, canned and frozen fruit and vegetable juices). TMEP §1203.04. Under the doctrine of foreign equivalents, a foreign word (from a language familiar to an appreciable segment of American consumers) and the English equivalent may be found to be confusingly similar. See, e.g., In re American Safety Razor Co., 2 USPQ2d 1459 (TTAB 1987) (BUENOS DIAS for bar soap held likely to be confused with GOOD MORNING and design for latherless shaving cream). TMEP §1203.04. Although the above examples are raised in the context of a refusal under Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d), ("likelihood of confusion"), they are mentioned because the analytic framework for homonyms is the same under Section 2(a). As an example, an application for the mark "NAPPA VALLY" for wine could be refused registration under Section 2(a).]