Cognate's Trademark Blog

Trademarking Nothing

Well.. in this case it’s about trademarking, Zero. Not hard to guess who the participants are.

A United States appeals court on Wednesday revived Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc’s challenge to Coca-Cola Co’s effort to register trademarks for soft drinks and sports drinks whose names contain the word “zero.” reports the Gazette.

Here’s the introduction to their report.

By a 3-0 vote, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. threw out a May 2016 dismissal of much of Dr Pepper’s decade-old case, saying a trademark review board failed to properly analyze whether “zero” was too generic to be trademarked.

Multiple companies sell beverages with the “zero” name, which often denotes an absence of calories or carbohydrates.

The ability to market products effectively is important to beverage makers trying to counteract declines in U.S. sales of carbonated soft drinks since their mid-2000s peak.

Coca-Cola and its lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Dr Pepper welcomed the decision. “We do not believe that any company should have the ability to claim exclusive trademark rights to a term like ‘zero’ in connection with zero-calorie beverages,” spokesman Chris Barnes said in a statement.

Coca-Cola has used the “zero” name on such products as Cherry Coke Zero, Sprite Zero, Powerade Zero, and more recently Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.

The Atlanta-based company’s effort to register U.S. rights to 17 drinks with the word “zero” prompted a 2007 challenge by Dr Pepper, whose products include Diet Rite Pure Zero. Coca-Cola argued that such names could confuse consumers.

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