Monday, December 3, 2012

Trademark Fail: "Best **** in America"

The latest company to lose an attempt to trademark a platitude is Dunkin' Donuts.  Dunkin had attempted to trademark the phrase "Best Coffee in America."  The US Patent and Trademark Office rightly denied the request since the mark was not sufficiently distinctive. While many coffee drinkers, especially here in the Northeast US would certainly agree with Dunkin's claim (especially when compared to the bitter swill dispensed at the more popular coffee bistro named after astronomical male deer) this is simplye not teh kind of distinctive product identifier that trademark law embraces.  A previous loser in the  "Best in America" trademark attempts game was the Samuel Adams Brewery in Boston.  Once again, no argument from this reader about the veracity of Sam Adam's claim to the "Best Beer in America," but opinions may differ and Sam can't own the phrase to the exclusion of competitors.

See related post about express warranties, here.

While Dunkin' cannot trademark the phrase, they can certainly use it to hawk their coffee.  In this ad, they stake an equally non-empirical claim to "America's favorite cup o' joe."

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