Whole Foods flew a little too close to the sun on wings of organic produce this week before getting shot back down to earth by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The grocery store was attempting to change it's slogan from "America's Healthiest Grocery Store" to the "World's Healthiest Grocery Store"—a claim government officials didn't quite buy.
According to the Washington Post, Whole Foods applied to trademark the self-congratulatory phrase in June, and was denied the copyright earlier this month. The trademark agency said that the request was rejected based on "laudatory" claims that could not be proven or verified. Though over the last 14 years Whole Food has opened roughly 20 stores in two countries outside the US, the company's slow-moving expansion hardly qualifies it as the preeminent shopping destination on a global scale.
Still, this isn't the first time a company's attempt to turn braggadocio into branding has been rejected. As the Post notes, Papa John's was initially denied a copyright claim for its "Better Ingredients, Better Pizza" slogan in 2000, because the company couldn't prove that it actually used better ingredients than any other pizza chain. Papa John's continued using the slogan, however, claiming that customers were already familiar with the phrase as a signifier of the brand, and not necessarily a claim of truth.
Earlier this year, the FDA found a number of "serious violations" at a Whole Foods preparation plant in Massachusetts. Chances are there's a market somewhere in the world that doesn't have ammonium mixing with salad greens. Stay humble, Whole Foods.
[via Washington Post]