Chicken and Kale Like Peas in a Pod?

file000987948415In this world there are two types of trademark owners, those who are gun shy and those who are trigger happy when it comes to potential trademark infringement. Typically, trigger happy trademark owners are well within their rights when issuing a cease and desist letter, especially when they have enlisted the help of an intellectual property law firm; sometimes however, certain cases leave you scratching your head and saying, “Wha…?” Such is the case with chicken fast food powerhouse Chick-Fil-A® suing a small clothing manufacturer over the trademark, Eat More Kale™.

I for one know that there are few things in this world more delicious than a chicken and kale casserole, but It’s a little tough to believe that a customer going out to buy some fast food chicken who happens to run across a store selling a shirt with “eat more kale” on it is going to become severely confused between these two products, but hey, that’s just me. Now though, Chik-Fil-A® is saying that this trademark application infringes on their Eat Mor Chikin® , a trademark they thought up by using illiterate cows as a marketing strategy in advertisements.

“Bo’s is a very different statement. It’s more of a philosophical statement about local agriculture and community-supported farmers markets,” remarks the lawyer who has agreed to represent Bo Muller-Moore, the creative mind behind the shirts, sweatshirts, and bumper stickers. He started printing in 2000, when a friend of his and local kale farmer asked for them for his family and it quickly became a business as more and more people wanted to show their pride in the vegetable. “Our plan is to not back down. This feels like David versus Goliath. I know what it’s like to protect what’s yours in business,” says the 38-year-old artist turned business man.

Currently, the trademark in question is still moving through the application process, and only time will tell what the outcome of the litigation is. However Vermont Law School professor Oliver Goodenough, who specializes in intellectual and property law, said the kale versus “chikin” fight, “[…] looks a bit like an example of over-enthusiasm for brand protection. There are [law] firms in the United States that take this over-enthusiasm for brand protection seriously and believe the more they can scare away the better.” Whatever the case may be, whether you choose to eat more “chikin” or kale is ultimately your decision. 😉

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