The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) rejected a trademark application from a hot dog truck business named “Franks Anatra” on the grounds that it falsely suggested a connection with the famed singer, Frank Sinatra.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the food business argued that the “Franks Anatra” name was derived from the slang name for frankfurters, combined with the Italian word (“anatra”) for duck or drake. The TTAB ruled, “There is nothing inherent in applicant’s mark or in his marketing to lead consumers to translate the word ‘Anatra’ to duck. Furthermore, we do not understand how applicant’s mark engenders the commercial impression relating to anything other than a play on the Frank Sinatra name.”
The hot dog vendor didn’t stop there. The trademark applicant said the name was inspired by a fictional country called the People’s Republic Of Anatra. The food truck even displayed what was said to be the official flag of the People’s Republic of Anatra. The TTAB’s response? “Suffice it to say, we find applicant’s explanation for choosing the mark FRANKS ANATRA to be obscure and find it unlikely that consumers will understand it.”
It doesn’t end there. There was one more claim on the part of the vendor … that Frank Sinatra wasn’t famous enough for customers to confuse his name with Franks Anatra. On that one, the TTAB stated: “Frank Sinatra is an iconic American cultural figure whose fame and reputation easily satisfy this element of the test for a false suggestion of a connection.”
Celebrities lend their names to food products quite often these days (Newman’s Own, anyone?). Some of you may even remember Frank Sinatra’s tomato sauce from the 1990s. It’s no longer available, but you can make your own version using blogger Sunday Sauce‘s recipe that it calls “Frank Sinatra’s Favorite Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce.” It sounds pretty tasty. And, just in case you’re interested in more recipes from dearly departed celebrities, Grub Street has a few, including Dean Martin’s burgers and Elvis’ fried chicken.