Dunkin’ Donuts Can’t Trademark “Best Coffee In America”

Image courtesy of (joce01_y)

People might love Dunkin’ Donuts coffee — some might even say it’s the best around, and no one is saying the donut chain can’t call its brew America’s best. Regardless, DD’s application to trademark the phrase “Best Coffee in America” has been nixed for now.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejected Dunkin’s application, saying the phrase was “merely laudatory and descriptive of the alleged merit of applicant’s services and the goods featured therein… 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.”

The Trademark folks cited a previous case in which the makers of Sam Adams beer attempted — and failed — to trademark the phrase “Best Beer in America.” Even though the beer company was unable to trademark the phrase back in 1999, it has continued to use it in advertising. The lack of a trademark just means that others can also call themselves the “best beer in America.”

“Anyone at all can claim that their coffee is the ‘Best Coffee in America,’ ” one trademark attorney explains to the Boston Globe. “No one takes such a claim literally, and no one company can monopolize the phrase.”

The donut chain says that it is “reviewing the filing and cannot speculate on future plans at this time.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.