When you hear Redneck Riviera what comes to mind? The panhandle of Florida? Orange Beach, Alabama? Mississippi? Today’s post comes from a decision rendered by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In 2012, Rich Marks, LLC applied for the trademark of “Redneck Riviera Fest” and “Redneck Riviera” for, among other things, entertainment and live music concerts. (thanks to http://thettablog.blogspot.com/ for bringing this to my attention, decision is here: http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=85789873&pty=EXA&eno=16).
The trademark examining attorney denied the application primarily because the applicant intended for its goods and services, entertainment and concerts, to originate from the area known as the Redneck Riviera – a geographical location defined by the attorney that extends from the panhandle of Florida to southeastern Mississippi. Because, according the the attorney, the area is known for live music and entertainment, the mark is primarily geographically descriptive and/or geographically deceptively.
Rich Marks appealed this decision to the TTAB. Rich Marks first argued that Redneck Riviera isn’t a a “generally known geographic place”. Instead, the applicant argued, it is a pop-culture term “to describe a beautiful beach with lower-class inhabitants”.
Rich Marks next argues that Redneck Riviera isn’t a defined geographical area. Unlike “Carolina” (a state), “Old Dominion” (used to refer to Virginia), or “Nashville” (a city), Redneck Riviera does not have a boundary. Some publications refer to only the panhandle of Florida as the Redneck Riviera, while other publications claim it stretches from Florida to Mississippi. Because, Rich Marks argues, there is no definite region the mark is more like “Dixie” than the preceding terms; therefore “the primary significance of the mark is not a generally-known geographic place or location”.
The TTAB rejected Rich Marks’ arguments. The Board found that the primary significance of Redneck Riviera was to point to “beaches on the northwest Gulf Coast in Florida, Alabama, and part of Mississippi.” Although Rich Marks argued at the hearing that Redneck Riviera could refer to any beach to which “rednecks” have easy access to, such as Myrtle Beach, the Board found that Redneck Riviera points to primarily to the specific region. In short, the Board found the marks to be “primarily geographically descriptive”.
Have you ever been to the Redneck Riviera? Does it refer to only the Gulf Coast? Does it also refer to Myrtle and Daytona?