Whole Foods recently received a humbling rejection from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when it tried to update its slogan from “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” to an even more ambitious “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store.”
Citing the chain’s chosen catchphrase to be “laudatory”, the agency rejected the application filed in June, the Washington Post reported. The supermarket chain received the office action on July 16 which stated that the new slogan was insufficient for copyright registration.Marco Verch
The store, which only operates in the United States, Britain and Canada, may find it difficult to substantiate a global claim. It may, of course, choose to refile the application after six months. In 2010, Whole Foods was able to claim “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” based on an argument that, rather than being factual, the slogan has become a distinguishing mark of the company, according to an Interbrand report penned by trademark consultant Mike Ortega.“The trademark application could be a sign that Whole Foods could be planning to expand its locations beyond just three countries,” Ortega wrote.
Whole Foods, which began in Texas as the United States’ first certified organic grocer, opened its first international outlet in Toronto in 2002 was immediately followed by a store in Britain. A new store sprouted in British Columbia last year with plans of another one coming up in the area and in Alberta this year, raising the number of outlets in Canada to 13. In Britain, Whole Foods currently has nine stores in operation.