The Board affirmed a Section 2(d) refusal of the mark LEIPER’S FORK DISTILLERY for “insulating sleeve holders for beverage cans,” various clothing items, and alcoholic beverages, finding the mark to be primarily geographically descriptive of the goods. Applicant argued, without success, that Leiper’s Fork is “an obscure location which, even if the public were aware existed, would not have led them to believe Applicant’s Goods originate there.” In re Leiper’s Fork Distillery, LLC, Serial No. 86894726 (May 14, 2018) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Lorelei Ritchie).
Leiper’s Fork, a rural village in Tennessee with a population of 650 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Negative dictionary evidence showed no other meaning of Leiper’s Fork.
A Section 2(d) refusal is appropriate when:
(1) the primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic location:
(2) the source of the goods is the geographic location named in the mark; and
(3) purchasers would be likely to believe the goods or services originate in the geographic place identified in the mark.
Primary Significance: The Board noted that, although Leiper’s Fork has a small population, “it has a large draw.” Leipers’s Fork is a tourist destination of growing popularity. Well known musicians and artists come from Nashville to take part in the village’s cultural scene. Justin Timberlake recently paid $4 million for a tract of land there. In short, “Leiper’s Fork has built up a reputation that is not remote or obscure.”
Origin of the Goods:: Applicant did not dispute that it is located in Franklin, Tennessee, which neighbors Leiper’s Fork. Close enough said, the Board, finding that the goods therefore originate from Leiper’s Fork for Section 2(d) purposes. See In re Spirits of New Merced, 85 USPQ2d 1614 (TTAB 2007) (YOSEMITE BEER held geographically descriptive of beer sold in Merced, California, near Yosemite National Park).
Goods/Place Association: When the first two prongs of the Section 2(d) test are met, the third may be presumed. In any case, applicant did not dispute that Tennessee is generally known for its whiskey and distilled spirits. Moreover, there is a history of whiskey production in Williamson County, where Leiper’s Fork is located.
Conclusion: The Board affirmed the refusal.