Have A Family Feast Tonight... And It Doesn't Have To Be From KFC

from the bad-trademark,-bad dept

Jimmy alerts us to yet another story of trademark law gone bad. Fast food chicken joint KFC apparently was able to get a trademark on "Family Feast" and then threatened a small pizzeria in Scotland that had been using the phrase "Family Feast" since 1992. After getting the threat letter from KFC, the pizzeria responded with a straightforward letter to KFC, saying:
"we refuse to be bullied by a global conglomerate such as yourselves".
And... amazingly, it worked. KFC backed down and told the pizza place that it will take no further action. So, everyone, go out and have a family feast tonight from someone other than KFC.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:16pm

    Well, it isn't about telling the big guy to get lost, it's about prior use,isn't it? KFC trademarked the term in 1994 and again in 2003, and this place has used the term continuously since 1992. Prior use means that yes, they can get the colonel the finger.

     

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  2.  
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    brent, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:24pm

    hey at least they backed off

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

    Best guess

    My best guess is that this got elevated to someone with a brain in the organization. Said person promptly put a stop to the shenanigans.

    Or to put another way, the left hand found out what the right hand was doing.

     

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  4.  
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    rgc, May 28th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    KFC

    Who runs this company, Bozo the clown? First they run the Oprah/KFC coupon scam where they didn't count on people not only downloading so many coupons, but also saving the .pdf file to hit up multiple KFC locations so that they'd have to stop honoring the coupons on the pretext that the demand was overwhelming the franchises?

    No they simply wanted to limit the amount of people taking advantage of the offer by making them get ONE "rain check" at some future date that you could only recieve at your home address.

    I took four kids with coupons to three KFC's in the span of 1 hour, amazingly enough all three seem to have all run out of chicken? How the hell does that happen?

    Think I'll get five rain checks? Not counting on it in this lifetime. Visiting KFC again? Again, not counting on it in this lifetime!

    Now they try to muscule out some small business who used the term "Family Feast" way before they trademarked it. This is such a badly run company that it makes you wonder about their quality standards applied to the food they serve!

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    Re:

    "Well, it isn't about telling the big guy to get lost, it's about prior use,isn't it?"

    It's both, innit?

    Bad on KFC for their overreaching, but good on them for stepping back from that edge. I may go get a 'frak pack' tonight.

     

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  6.  
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    sehlat (profile), May 28th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Reminds me of a remark in a story I just read

    In John Hemry's story in the latest issue of Analog
    the lawyer for the defense remarks that the whole mess had happened because nobody with any sanity found out about what was going on in time to prevent it.

    Sounds like the guy or girl at KFC who holds the company sanity token finally found out what was going on.

     

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  7.  
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    hellslam, May 28th, 2009 @ 4:45pm

    It's not about trademark or prior art...

    ...it's about how asinine it is that a company would be granted a mark on two words that are commonly used together. A phrase such as "Family Feast" should be available to any restaurant that wants to offer such a thing.

    Shame on the system that granted this mark.

    While I in no way associate the phrase "Family Feast" with KFC, I certainly do associate the phrase "Corporation Run by Idiots" with it. Trademark that, KFC.

     

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    beebopwilly, May 28th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    KFC is the worst thing anyone could possibly eat

    This is just another attempt by a stupid corporate behemoth to roll over the small business that might, just might compete with it for a family's food dollars. May they all burn in torment in the eternal flames of hell! Rat bastards, regardless of whether or not they reconsidered. Harlan must be doing about 30,000 RPM in his grave by now.

     

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  9.  
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    Bettawrekonize, May 28th, 2009 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re:

    ""Well, it isn't about telling the big guy to get lost, it's about prior use,isn't it?""

    Well, the thing is that every word has prior use and probably almost every useful two sets of words. So should we just make every word copyright? It's ridiculous. If a company uses a word to communicate what it's serving and another company needs to use the same word to communicate what it serves is the first company the only one allowed to use that word? Is no one else allowed to use the word? This paragraph is made of words that were used before, am I breaking copyright law?

     

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  10.  
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    Justyn, May 29th, 2009 @ 1:23am

    Goes to show

    Don't mess with the Scots!

     

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  11.  
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    JP_Fife, May 29th, 2009 @ 1:23am

    This story was in the Scotsman weeks ago and people said the same thing as here.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not really. Any two words are just two words, but used as a catch phrase for a given restaurant, the term "Family Feast" can actually be trademarked within the industry.

    Without prior use, there would be no story here, because the pizza place would have had to stop using the term.

    I can't figure out why Mike would say something like "amazingly, it worked", considering that prior use here is a pretty clear and well detailed.

     

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  13.  
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    Whisk33, May 29th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    I'm surprised by the reactions here. I would have expected more support for the company for choosing the correct manner at which to handle this. They could have just be pig headed and continued to pursued litigation.

     

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  14.  
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    Daemon ZOGG, May 29th, 2009 @ 6:41am

    Trademarks, Patent Trolls. . .

    Corporate Bastards! I hate those guyz!

     

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  15.  
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    JGM, May 29th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re: KFC

    "I took four kids with coupons to three KFC's in the span of 1 hour, amazingly enough all three seem to have all run out of chicken? How the hell does that happen?"

    Gee, you're dumb.

     

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  16.  
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    teknosapien, May 29th, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Maybe

    They just should have counter sued KFC for infringing on their already established trademark. After all it was known since 1992 that this restaurants been using this since 1992

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Remember this: 3 months from now, Mike will link to this story with the text: "major corporation picked on the little guy and lost a major battle".

    The Masnick Effect strikes again.

     

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  18.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 29th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

    Re:

    Remember this: 3 months from now, Mike will link to this story with the text: "major corporation picked on the little guy and lost a major battle"

    And could you point to a single example of that in practice? No? Oh look, you've been caught lying again. I'm beginning to think your troll MO is to simply lie as much as possible. What a pathetic life.

     

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  19.  
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    bob, May 30th, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    Coupons

    Coupons, call the store and make your order, say nothing about the coupon.
    Call back and ask if they take the coupon.
    Get the name of the people you talk to.
    Show up and pick up your order using the coupon.

    PepsiCo owns KFC, Pizza Hut and ?

    Going out of your way to call someone a dumb ass shows a certain amount of personal inanity.

     

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