The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rejected an application by Italy’s Pecorino Romano Consortium (Consorzio Per La Tutela Del Formaggio Pecorino Romano Consortium Italy) to trademark the name “Pecorino Romano” in a way that would have impacted use of the common term “romano”. CCFN had been concerned that if the application were accepted as initially applied for, both the terms “pecorino” and “romano” would be at risk for generic use within the United States.
PTO gave several grounds for the refusal, noting primarily that the request was inconsistent with an already existing certification mark for “Pecorino Romano” and that the names “pecorino” and “romano” independently are effectively common names. USPTO noted that the Consorzio is free to file a response to the office action by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration. CCFN was pleased that USPTO rightfully noted the widespread use of both terms in the U.S. marketplace. Although GI holders should have the ability to register their GIs in the United States, such registrations must not infringe on others’ rights to continue to use common names.
To read the rest of the story, please go to: Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN)