Photo: Hope Photography
Earlier this month, Dunkin’ doughnuts tried to trademark the phrase “Best Coffee in America.”After the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stopped laughing, it rejected the application in a 55-page response.
The chain made an elementary error of law, the government said in rejecting its claim: You can’t claim intellectual property rights over mere puffery.
The phrase was “merely laudatory and descriptive of the alleged merit of applicant’s services and the goods featured therein,” the trademark office wrote. “Further, applicant’s informational slogan is nothing more than a claim of superiority and is so highly laudatory and descriptive of the quality of the coffee featured in applicant’s restaurants, cafes and snack bars that applicant’s claim of acquired distinctiveness, based on five years’ use of the mark in commerce, is insufficient and unpersuasive.”
And there isn’t overwhelming proof that Dunkin’ actually has the best coffee.
Although its website cites that it won AOL.com’s 2007 poll about the best coffee in the U.S., the Boston Globe reports that Starbucks did better in Zagat’s survey for the last three years.
This isn’t the first time that a company has failed to trademark having “the best” product in America.
Even though Sam Adams was voted “Best Beer in America” in the Great American Beer Festival in 1985, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office refused to allow it to trademark the phrase in 1999.
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