The Japanese Patent Office refused to register as a trademark the phrase GRAND CANYON for class 25 – clothes, shoes etc.
The reason behind this decision was the fact that according to the law in Japan and many other countries, signs that indicate a geographical origin in regard with the relevant goods and services are not allowed for registration as trademarks.
In the case at hand, GRAND CANYON is a well-known US national park, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
What’s more, GRAND CANYON is famous with all sorts of merchandising products known and purchased by consumers around the world, including those in Japan.
From that perspective, it is highly likely consumers to perceive it in connection with the US national park than as a trademark sign.
Source: Masaki MIKAMI, Marks IP Law Firm.