Nice try, Dunkin' Donuts . . . but, no.
The U.S. Patent Office has squarely rejected the donut giant's attempt to trademark the slogan "Best Coffee in America," claiming that the phrase is "merely laudatory and descriptive" and means "nothing more than a claim of superiority."
The news comes on the heels of Dunkin's recent decision to enter the Houston area market, where the restaurant chain will launch 40 new stores by 2018. While a Dunkin' donut will never top a Shipley donut (in my humble opinion), the company's reasonably priced coffee is sure to make a noticeable dent in Starbucks' longstanding reign throughout the Bayou City.
"Anyone at all can claim that their coffee is the ‘Best Coffee in America. No one takes such a claim literally, and no one company can monopolize the phrase.”
As a devoted coffee lover, Dunkin' offers a pretty solid product — strong without being too acidic, flavorful without being artificial.
But best in America? Now that's a tall order.
"Anyone at all can claim that their coffee is the ‘Best Coffee in America,’ ” trademark attorney Zick Rubin told the Boston Globe. “No one takes such a claim literally, and no one company can monopolize the phrase.”
This is not the first time the "best" hyperbole has been brought before a trademark committee. Throughout the 1990s, the maker of Sam Adams unsuccessfully tried to register “The Best Beer in America.”
The Voice Media Group — which owns the Houston Press, the Village Voice and other alt-weeklies across the nation —recently won a lawsuit against Yelp to the exclusive use of the phrase "best of" next to cities with the publisher claiming those two little words have become essential in defining its special annual "best of" issues.
In the future, the customer review website will use the much less exciting "Best of Yelp" slogan.