Efforts by US coffehouse and doughnut chain Dunkin' Donuts to claim exclusive rights to the phrase "Best Coffee in America" have been dismissed.
Dunkin' Donuts, founded in 1950, has more than 32,000 stores in countries worldwide and is said to sell more than 1.5bn cups of coffe a year.
The chain had lodged a bid to trademark the slogan "Best Coffee in America", but the Boston Globe reported that the US Patent and Trademark Office refused the claim earlier this month.
The office said that the trademark was "merely laudatory and descriptive", adding that the "informational slogan is nothing more than a claim of superiority".
In its rejection, the office said: "It is well established that a mark that consists of the generic name of a food that is the specialty of the house or a principal attraction of the restaurant has been held merely descriptive of restaurant services."
There is precedent for the ruling. The Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams beer, had an application to trademark a similar slogan - "The Best Beer in America" - turned down.
Dunkin' Donuts is free to respond to the refusal by submitting evidence and arguments in support of registration.
A spokesperson for Dunkin' Donuts told The Boston Globe that they were reviewing the filing and could not speculate on future plans at this time.
Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported that Dunkin' Donuts was eyeing a return to British shores next year as part of a European-wide expansion.
There are currently 91 Dunkin’ Donuts and 356 Baskin Robbins outlets in Europe but the continent only accounts for less than 1pc of Dunkin’ Brands’ profits.
Dunkin’ Donuts pulled out of Britain in the mid-nineties as its sugary offerings failed to whet appetites in the UK.
But the president of the doughnut chain’s parent company Dunkin’ brands believed its range of breakfast sandwiches, “slightly milder” coffee and doughnuts will now appeal to Britons who might currently go to McDonald’s, Greggs or Starbucks for their caffeine hit.