Dunkin’ Donuts Loses Bid To Trademark “Best Coffee in America”

Who lays claim to “best coffee in America?” No one, according to the US Patent and Trademark Office. The agency rejected Canton-based Dunkin’ Donuts bid continue its exclusive claim on the slogan yesterday, stating the phrase is not distinctive enough to qualify for protection, according to the Boston Globe. The agency ruled the slogan “is merely laudatory and descriptive.”

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

Dunkin’ Donuts was named “best coffee in America” in 2004 by food NBC “Today” show food editor Phil Lembert, but in fact, many companies claim their coffee is the best. Although Dunkin’ Donuts won a 2007 AOL poll for best brew, Starbucks beat the bakery for the past three years in Zagat’s survey.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which sells more than 1.5 billion cups of coffee annually worldwide, has not said whether it will appeal the ruling, but a spokesperson for the company said the company is reviewing the filing.

This is the second trademark defeat this year for Dunkin’ Donuts. Earlier this year, the trademark office rejected the company’s bid to trademark the phrase, “Bagel Bunchkin,” to describe its bite-size bagel pieces, citing a supermarket’s existing brand, “The Bagel Bunch,” that was too close to the proposed trademark.

Dunkin’ Donuts is not the first company to lose a bid to claim title to America’s best, either. In 1999 Boston Beer Co., which makes Sam Adams beer, tried to trademark the slogan, “The Best Beer in America.” The trademark office rejected the slogan, and the decision was upheld by an appellate court. Still, the Boston Brewing Co. has continued to use the slogan without trademark protection.

[Image via DunkinDonuts]