In my last blog I talked about how the Trademark Office doesn’t care whether Whole Foods actually is the WORLD’S HEALTHIEST GROCERY STORE. In fact, lots of registered trademarks include “merely laudatory” words or statements, and that’s perfectly OK under trademark law.
Here’s just a tiny sample of the registered trademarks that are laudatory claims:
- The Toughest Name in Tools®
- The Toughest Tournament in the Universe®
- The World’s Toughest Cigarette Machine®
- The Toughest Sport on Wool ®
- The Strongest Name in Rope®
- The Greatest Show on Earth®
- Fastest Oil Change on the Planet®
- The World’s Smallest Exercise Machine®
Why does the Trademark Office allow these? Isn’t it misleading consumers?
First, as I said in my last blog, it’s not the Trademark Office’s job. Vetting the truth of advertising is the job of the Federal Trade Commission.
Second, consumers don’t take these kinds of statements as factual. It’s the kind of harmless “puffery” we expect in advertising. We sense they aren’t meant literally.
Compare those hyperbolic statements to these:
- #1 Doctor Recommended Brand®
- #1 Pediatrician Recommended Brand®
- Stronger than Stainless Steel®
A reasonable person would probably think these have some science, testing, or truth behind them. The coating materials sold by Fused Armor, Inc. better produce something that’s actually stronger than stainless steel in some reasonable comparison, or you’re going to feel like they lied to you.
It does make you wonder then about the application by Kings County Bar to register “Smallest Penis in Brooklyn.” Hmmmmm. Laudatory or true?