World Intellectual Property Organization

United States of America

Geographical Indications Laws and Regulations, 15 U.S.C. §§ 45, 1052 and 1125, 27 U.S.C. § 205

 

 

Geographical Indications Laws and Regulations

TITLE 15-COMMERCE AND TRADE

CHAPTER 2-FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION; PROMOTION
OF EXPORT TRADE AND PREVENTION OF UNFAIR
METHODS OF COMPETITION

SUBCHAPTER I-FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
15 U.S.C. � 45. Unfair methods of competition unlawful; prevention by Commission
(a) Declaration of unlawfulness; power to prohibit unfair practices; inapplicability to foreign trade
(1) Unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, are hereby declared unlawful.
(2) The Commission is hereby empowered and directed to prevent persons, partnerships, or corporations, except banks, savings and loan institutions described in section 57a(f)(3) of this title, Federal credit unions described in section 57a(f)(4) of this title, common carriers subject to the Acts to regulate commerce, air carriers and foreign air carriers subject to part A of subtitle VII of title 49, and persons, partnerships, or corporations insofar as they are subject to the Packers and Stockyards Act, 1921, as amended [7 U.S.C. 181 et seq.], except as provided in section 406(b) of said Act [7 U.S.C. 227(b)], from using unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.
(3) This subsection shall not apply to unfair methods of competition involving commerce with foreign nations (other than import commerce) unless-
(A) such methods of competition have a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect-
(i) on commerce which is not commerce with foreign nations, or on import commerce with foreign nations; or
(ii) on export commerce with foreign nations, of a person engaged in such commerce in the United States; and
(B) such effect gives rise to a claim under the provisions of this subsection, other than this paragraph.

If this subsection applies to such methods of competition only because of the operation of subparagraph (A)(ii), this subsection shall apply to such conduct only for injury to export business in the United States.

CHAPTER 22-TRADE-MARKS

SUBCHAPTER I-THE PRINCIPAL REGISTER
15 U.S.C. � 1052 Trademarks registrable on the principal register; concurrent registration [Section 2]
No trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it-
(a) Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute; or 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.
(b) Consists of or comprises the flag or coat of arms or other insignia of the United States, or of any State or municipality, or of any foreign nation, or any simulation thereof.
(c) Consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent, or the name, signature, or portrait of a deceased President of the United States during the life of his widow, if any, except by the written consent of the widow.
(d) Consists of or comprises a mark which so resembles a mark registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, or a mark or trade name previously used in the United States by another and not abandoned, as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive: Provided, That if the Commissioner determines that confusion, mistake, or deception is not likely to result from the continued use by more than one person of the same or similar marks under conditions and limitations as to the mode or place of use of the marks or the goods on or in connection with which such marks are used, concurrent registrations may be issued to such persons when they have become entitled to use such marks as a result of their concurrent lawful use in commerce prior to

(1) the earliest of the filing dates of the applications pending or of any registration issued under this Act;

(2) July 5, 1947, in the case of registrations previously issued under the Act of March 3, 1881, or February 20, 1905, and continuing in full force and effect on that date; or

(3) July 5, 1947, in the case of applications filed under the Act of February 20, 1905, and registered after July 5, 1947.

Use prior to the filing date of any pending application or a registration shall not be required when the owner of such application or registration consents to the grant of a concurrent registration to the applicant. Concurrent registrations may also be issued by the Commissioner when a court of competent jurisdiction has finally determined that more than one person is entitled to use the same or similar marks in commerce. In issuing concurrent registrations, the Commissioner shall prescribe conditions and limitations as to the mode or place of use of the mark or the goods on or in connection with which such mark is registered to the respective persons.

(e) Consists of a mark which
(1) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive of them,
(2) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically descriptive of them, except as indications of regional origin may be registrable under � 4,
(3) when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of them, or
(4) is primarily merely a surname.
(f) Except as expressly excluded in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e)(3) of this section, nothing herein shall prevent the registration of a mark used by the applicant which has become distinctive of the applicant's goods in commerce. The Commissioner may accept as prima facie evidence that the mark has become distinctive, as used on or in connection with the applicant's goods in commerce, proof of substantially exclusive and continuous use thereof as a mark by the applicant in commerce for the five years before the date on which the claim of distinctiveness is made. Nothing in this section shall prevent the registration of a mark which, when used on or in connection with the goods of the applicant, is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of them, and which became distinctive of the applicant's goods in commerce before the date of the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.
15 U.S.C. � 1125 False designations of origin; false description or representation [Section 43]
(a)
(1) Any person who, on or in connection with any goods or services, or any container for goods, uses in commerce any word, term, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof, or any false designation of origin, false or misleading description of fact, or false or misleading representation of fact, which-

(A) is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person, or as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of his or her goods, services, or commercial activities by another person, or

(B) in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities,

shall be liable in a civil action by any person who believes that he or she is or is likely to be damaged by such act.

(2) is used in this subsection, the term "any person" includes any State, instrumentality of a State or employee of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity. Any State, and any such instrumentality, officer, or employee, shall be subject to the provisions of this Act in the same manner and to the same extent as any nongovernmental entity.

TITLE 27-INTOXICATING LIQUORS

CHAPTER 8-FEDERAL ALCOHOL ADMINISTRATION ACT

SUBCHAPTER I-FEDERAL ALCOHOL ADMINISTRATION
27 U.S.C. � 205. Unfair competition and unlawful practices
It shall be unlawful for any person engaged in business as a distiller, brewer, rectifier, blender, or other producer, or as an importer or wholesaler, of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, or as a bottler, or warehouseman and bottler, of distilled spirits, directly or indirectly or through an affiliate:
(e) Labeling
To sell or ship or deliver for sale or shipment, or otherwise introduce in interstate or foreign commerce, or to receive therein, or to remove from customs custody for consumption, any distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages in bottles, unless such products are bottled, packaged, and labeled in conformity with such regulations, to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury, with respect to packaging, marking, branding, and labeling and size and fill of container

(1) as will prohibit deception of the consumer with respect to such products or the quantity thereof and as will prohibit, irrespective of falsity, such statements relating to age, manufacturing processes, analyses, guarantees, and scientific or irrelevant matters as the Secretary of the Treasury finds to be likely to mislead the consumer;

(2) as will provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the products, the alcoholic content thereof (except that statements of, or statements likely to be considered as statements of, alcoholic content of malt beverages are prohibited unless required by State law and except that, in case of wines, statements of alcoholic content shall be required only for wines containing more than 14 per centum of alcohol by volume), the net contents of the package, and the manufacturer or bottler or importer of the product;

(3) as will require an accurate statement, in the case of distilled spirits (other than cordials, liqueurs, and specialties) produced by blending or rectification, if neutral spirits have been used in the production thereof, informing the consumer of the percentage of neutral spirits so used and of the name of the commodity from which such neutral spirits have been distilled, or in case of neutral spirits or of gin produced by a process of continuous distillation, the name of the commodity from which distilled;

(4) as will prohibit statements on the label that are disparaging of a competitor's products or are false, misleading, obscene, or indecent; and

(5) as will prevent deception of the consumer by use of a trade or brand name that is the name of any living individual of public prominence, or existing private or public organization, or is a name that is in simulation or is an abbreviation thereof, and as will prevent the use of a graphic, pictorial, or emblematic representation of any such individual or organization, if the use of such name or representation is likely falsely to lead the consumer to believe that the product has been indorsed, made, or used by, or produced for, or under the supervision of, or in accordance with the specifications of, such individual or organization: Provided, That this clause shall not apply to the use of the name of any person engaged in business as a distiller, brewer, rectifier, blender, or other producer, or as an importer, wholesaler, retailer, bottler, or warehouseman, of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, nor to the use by any person of a trade or brand name used by him or his predecessor in interest prior to August 29, 1935; including regulations requiring, at time of release from customs custody, certificates issued by foreign governments covering origin, age, and identity of imported products: Provided further, That nothing herein nor any decision, ruling, or regulation of any Department of the Government shall deny the right of any person to use any trade name or brand of foreign origin not presently effectively registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office which has been used by such person or predecessors in the United States for a period of at least five years last past, if the use of such name or brand is qualified by the name of the locality in the United States in which the product is produced, and, in the case of the use of such name or brand on any label or in any advertisement, if such qualification is as conspicuous as such name or brand.

It shall be unlawful for any person to alter, mutilate, destroy, obliterate, or remove any mark, brand, or label upon distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages held for sale in interstate or foreign commerce or after shipment therein, except as authorized by Federal law or except pursuant to regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury authorizing relabeling for purposes of compliance with the requirements of this subsection or of State law.
In order to prevent the sale or shipment or other introduction of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages in interstate or foreign commerce, if bottled, packaged, or labeled in violation of the requirements of this subsection,

(1) no bottler of distilled spirits, no producer, blender, or wholesaler of wine, or proprietor of a bonded wine storeroom, and no brewer or wholesaler of malt beverages shall bottle, and

(2) no person shall remove from customs custody, in bottles, for sale or any other commercial purpose, distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, respectively, after such date as the Secretary of the Treasury fixes as the earliest practicable date for the application of the provisions of this subsection to any class of such persons (but not later than August 15, 1936, in the case of distilled spirits, and December 15, 1936, in the case of wine and malt beverages, and only after thirty days' public notice), unless, upon application to the Secretary of the Treasury, he has obtained and has in his possession a certificate of label approval covering the distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, issued by the Secretary in such manner and form as he shall by regulations prescribe: Provided, That any such bottler of distilled spirits, or producer, blender, or wholesaler of wine, or proprietor of a bonded wine storeroom, or brewer or wholesaler of malt beverages shall be exempt from the requirements of this subsection if, upon application to the Secretary, he shows to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages to be bottled by the applicant are not to be sold, or offered for sale, or shipped or delivered for shipment, or otherwise introduced, in interstate or foreign commerce. Officers of internal revenue are authorized and directed to withhold the release of distilled spirits from the bottling plant unless such certificates have been obtained, or unless the application of the bottler for exemption has been granted by the Secretary; and customs officers are authorized and directed to withhold the release from customs custody of distilled spirits, wine, and malt beverages, unless such certificates have been obtained. The District Courts of the United States, and the United States court for any Territory shall have jurisdiction of suits to enjoin, annul, or suspend in whole or in part any final action by the Secretary upon any application under this subsection; or

(f) Advertising
To publish or disseminate or cause to be published or disseminated by radio broadcast, or in any newspaper, periodical or other publication or by any sign or outdoor advertisement or any other printed or graphic matter, any advertisement of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, if such advertisement is in, or is calculated to induce sales in, interstate or foreign commerce, or is disseminated by mail, unless such advertisement is in conformity with such regulations, to be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury,
(1) as will prevent deception of the consumer with respect to the products advertised and as will prohibit, irrespective of falsity, such statements relating to age, manufacturing processes, analyses, guaranties, and scientific or irrelevant matters as the Secretary of the Treasury finds to be likely to mislead the consumer;
(2) as will provide the consumer with adequate information as to the identity and quality of the products advertised, the alcoholic content thereof (except the statements of, or statements likely to be considered as statements of, alcoholic content of malt beverages and wines are prohibited), and the person responsible for the advertisement;
(3) as will require an accurate statement, in the case of distilled spirits (other than cordials, liqueurs, and specialties) produced by blending or rectification, if neutral spirits have been used in the production thereof, informing the consumer of the percentage of neutral spirits so used and of the name of the commodity from which such neutral spirits have been distilled, or in case of neutral spirits or of gin produced by a process of continuous distillation, the name of the commodity from which distilled;
(4) as will prohibit statements that are disparaging of a competitor's products or are false, misleading, obscene, or indecent;
(5) as will prevent statements inconsistent with any statement on the labeling of the products advertised.
This subsection shall not apply to outdoor advertising in place on June 18, 1935, but shall apply upon replacement, restoration, or renovation of any such advertising. The prohibitions of this subsection and regulations thereunder shall not apply to the publisher of any newspaper, periodical, or other publication, or radio broadcaster, unless such publisher or radio broadcaster is engaged in business as a distiller, brewer, rectifier, or other producer, or as an importer or wholesaler, of distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages, or as a bottler, or warehouseman and bottler, of distilled spirits, directly or indirectly or through an affiliate.
The provisions of subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section shall not apply to any act done by an agency of a State or political subdivision thereof, or by any officer or employee of such agency.
In the case of malt beverages, the provisions of subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d) of this section shall apply to transactions between a retailer or trade buyer in any State and a brewer, importer, or wholesaler of malt beverages outside such State only to the extent that the law of such State imposes similar requirements with respect to similar transactions between a retailer or trade buyer in such State and a brewer, importer, or wholesaler of malt beverages in such State, as the case may be. In the case of malt beverages, the provisions of this subsection and subsection (e) of this section shall apply to the labeling of malt beverages sold or shipped or delivered for shipment or otherwise introduced into or received in any State from any place outside thereof, or the advertising of malt beverages intended to be sold or shipped or delivered for shipment or otherwise introduced into or received in any State from any place outside thereof, only to the extent that the law of such State imposes similar requirements with respect to the labeling or advertising, as the case may be, of malt beverages not sold or shipped or delivered for shipment or otherwise introduced into or received in such State from any place outside thereof.
The Secretary of the Treasury shall give reasonable public notice, and afford to interested parties opportunity for hearing, prior to prescribing regulations to carry out the provisions of this section.

 

Explore WIPO