Do the Scots own BURNS NIGHT?

The Scotch Whisky Association recently filed an opposition to the mark BURNS NIGHT filed by an Atlanta distiller of American malt whiskey.  The Association claims that BURNS NIGHT is “highly evocative of Scotland when used on a whisky product,” and is likely to cause a consumer to believe that the spirit being purchased is a Scotch as opposed to an American whiskey.

The mark would not seem to be a simple geographic indicator so can an annual celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns prevent registration of the mark?  It is an interesting question as Robbie Burns Night is acknowledged in many other parts of the world as well, particularly Canada and the US.

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