Applicant sells KHORAN wine – KHORAN apparently is the Armenian word for ALTAR. Examiner doesn’t reject of descriptiveness but on Section 2(a) disparagement – as the Koran prohibits alcohol, Muslims will be disparaged by registration of the mark. TTABlog summarizes and links to the Board decision upholding the refusal.
A couple of initial observations: (1) the mark has allegedly been in use in the US since 2000. The record doesn’t indicate one way or another whether there has been objections to the mark. Once this case gets reported, it will be too late to obtain ‘sincere’ evidence on this point; (2) this was a (rare) augmented board of 5 panelists; (3) the Board’s “there is no proper way to spell a foreign word/what about the radio” analysis is well-settled practice, however I suspect that in this instance, Muslims may interpret KHORAN WINE differently than KORAN WINE as to whether they are being targeted (I don’t have $250,000 to test this point).
Finally, the elephant in the room: within seconds of reading what this case was about, I was reminded of the Danish cartoons, and Theo van Gogh.