Chick-fil-A Says 'Eat More Kale' Slogan Infringes On Its 'Eat Mor Chikin'

from the morons-in-a-hurry-don't-eat-chicken? dept

I have a friend who is obsessed with the fast food restaurant Chick-fil-A. Many years ago, he made me travel nearly two hours once just to get lunch there (the nearest one to the Bay Area is way outside of town on the way to Sacramento). Given all the talk about it, I expected it to be quite an amazing restaurant. I wasn't prepared for it to be a dingy mall fast-food/food court place. They make a decent chicken sandwich, but it's hardly worth going out of your way. Either way, I definitely won't be going out of my way for Chick-fil-A again, because I try not to patronize businesses that are insufferable intellectual property bullies. As a whole bunch of you have been submitting, the fast food restaurant has threatened a Vermont Artist for using the phrase "Eat More Kale." Chick-fil-A pretty clearly does not do a brisk business in kale. In fact, I'm pretty sure no kale has ever entered a Chick-fil-A kitchen. However, Chick-fil-A has an ongoing marketing campaign, involving cows urging people to "eat mor chikin." It has somehow decided that any version of "eat more" is too close and that morons in a hurry would be confused.

I'd really like Chick-fil-A to point out the moron in a hurry who would see "eat more kale" and suddenly get confused into biting into a clucking bird instead.

Now, it is worth noting that the artist, Bo Muller-Moore, may have brought this partially upon himself by applying for a trademark himself on the "eat more kale" slogan -- which is likely what prompted Chick-fil-A to send the letter opposing the trademark and challenging the phrase. This is what happens when we battle over who can try to lock up the English language. Either way, Chick-fil-A looks like a world class trademark bully, clearly overstepping the powers given to it under trademark law. "Eat mor chikin" is trademarkable not because of the phrase "eat more" but for the full phrase, including the misspellings. Pretending that any version of "eat more" is a trademark violation is simply an attempt to expand the trademark well beyond what is reasonable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Kevin H (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Oh for the love of vegetables. Next thing you know there will be a commercial with a parachuting turnip for a farmers market that could confuse customer so much that Chick-fil-A could go out of business.

     

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    ken (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Own these word Chick-Fil_A, "Eat Me!".

    http://www.hersheycanada.com/en/products/details/eatmore/index.asp

    Hershey's has a candy-bar named "Eat More". If Chick-Fil-A decides to pursue this they may be the recipients of a cease-and-desist letter themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    I don't get it, this is just stupid, I can understand people trying to trademark the name of a company or product, but slogans?

    Even if you copy someone else the original probably has enough market share in his own right to survive any attempt of being used by others who probably will confuse it with the original and not the fake one, more even if it is confused and leads to the other guy, he probably is doing a better job and deserve to rip the benefits of that work, more than the guy that just sat on his ass.

    The same thing goes for colors, color profiles and so forth, the legal system is just full of hicks apparently that lost the meaning of what is to work hard for something.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    Chick-fil-A exhibits other despicable behavior

     

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      JT, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

      Re: Chick-fil-A exhibits other despicable behavior

      And you're probably not much better by hating anyone that is Christian. So move along troll.

       

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        lucidrenegade (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

        Re: Re: Chick-fil-A exhibits other despicable behavior

        Look who's talking.

         

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 9:26pm

        Re: Re: Chick-fil-A exhibits other despicable behavior

        You two loosely related the troll to the article and started a (contrived?) argument about politics and religion. That combined with a good implied ad hominem, troll rating 7/10

         

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        identicon
        clue, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 11:56am

        Re: Re: Chick-fil-A exhibits other despicable behavior

        Um, where did he say that he hates anyone who is christian?

        Oh, that's right: in your mind, anyone who points out the failings of another, must HATE all who have similar religious beliefs. Got it.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 1:50pm

      OMG! HAAAATE!

      And hate is politically incorrect. Bad, bad hate. Can't hate; ya gotta be politically correct, y'know.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:45pm

    Forget chicken and kale. EAT MORE VAGINA!

     

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      non-anonymous coward (profile), Dec 1st, 2011 @ 6:02am

      Re:

      I would love to see the court filing for that lawsuit.

       

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      Loopy, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 11:58am

      Re:

      EAT MOR CHRISTIANS!

       

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      Dennis, Mar 11th, 2013 @ 3:21pm

      Re:

      That is what 'eat more chicken' means in the context of a slang expression: giving oral sex to a woman.
      Anyway, that bonehead Chick-fil-a guy must not realize that there is prior art that applies to the exact phrase "eat more chicken" since it was used in the song 'Back Door Man' by the Doors from 1967.

       

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        nasch (profile), Mar 11th, 2013 @ 4:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Anyway, that bonehead Chick-fil-a guy must not realize that there is prior art that applies to the exact phrase "eat more chicken" since it was used in the song 'Back Door Man' by the Doors from 1967.

        Just because it's been used before doesn't mean it cannot be trademarked.

         

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    Rikuo (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    What the hell is kale?

     

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    mickmel (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    I love Chick-Fil-A food, but this is a bush league move...

     

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    Squid Lips, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    Make moar lawz!

     

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    A Guy (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Yeah, that's ridiculous. If their food wasn't so great, I'd be annoyed by this.

     

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    xenomancer (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:17pm

    Ever Notice...

    ... how if you straighten up the lazy side of the k and add a 'B' they really just want you to Beat mor chilin? The monsters!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:18pm

    Chick-fil-A can "Eat more...

    ...of my d...

    Oh, never mind.

     

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    Sarah, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:22pm

    Gross.

    I agree 100%. But corporate bullies aside, shouldn't such a commonly used phrase like "eat more" (whatever the spelling) be considered too common a phrase to trademark anyway?

     

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    Atkray (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:44pm

    My HR Prof. made us go on a field trip to Chick-fil-a to show us the indoctrination they use on their employees.

    They are trained to respond to a "thank you" with "my pleasure"

    It was quite amusing to watch them respond without thinking when they walked past the table.

    Other than that I wouldn't bother with them.

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

      Re:

      Its indoctrination to be polite now?

       

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      nasch (profile), Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Yeah... I'm not sure I would call training or scripted responses "indoctrination". Anyway, that seems less weird than the Target Starbucks person asking everyone "what can I get started for you?" I don't want you to get something started for me, I want you to give me a piece of pound cake.

       

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    Nigel Lew (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    "I think he was a singer like back in the '50s or 60's or something."


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karsh_Kale Heh, not too far off there my anonymous friend.

    Nigel

     

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    gorehound (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:28pm

    Eat More Paramedics !!!

     

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    fb39ca4 (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:31pm

    Eat more vegetarians!

     

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    identicon
    Alexander, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:36pm

    Ok, really?

    Someone else was going to trademark a phrase that was definitely based on chick-fil-a(don't argue if you're smart). Chick-fil-a knew about the "eat more kale" shirt for over 4 years! Did they trademark bully them then? No. They only wanted to protect their trademark, they aren't going to sue this guy for selling the shirts, they just aren't going to allow him to trademark it and then sue them.

    It's a precautionary step taken in this lawsuit-happy world we live in. It's their lawyer-helmet to keep money mongering lawsuit whoring legal thieves from stealing their money.

    They haven't sued the dude for any money, they are just covering their bases. And this blog? seriously? Do you even KNOW what bullying is? I doubt it.

     

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      nasch (profile), Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 10:19am

      Re: Ok, really?

      They only wanted to protect their trademark, they aren't going to sue this guy for selling the shirts, they just aren't going to allow him to trademark it and then sue them.

      Opposing the trademark application would be reasonable. Maybe it would not succeed, but that wouldn't really be obnoxious. But they want him to stop making the shirts and turn over his domain. That's into dick move territory.

       

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

    Mike Masnick is jewish?

    Mike must be jewish to be jealous and hate chick-fil-a... can anyone confirm this fact?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

      Re: Mike Masnick is jewish?

      Religion Troll 1/10
      Wrong type of website.

       

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        Kevin H (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

        Re: Re: Mike Masnick is jewish?

        r/atheism ?

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 9:03pm

          Re: Re: Re: Mike Masnick is jewish?

          What I meant was this website doesn't deal with religious issues, that I've seen anyway.

          You should tailor your troll to the audience if you want a good troll rating.

          A religious troll here is like going to a cooking website and trying to start a fight about sci fi.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 7:14pm

    I wish I'd known about this years ago. Could have threatened my mother with trademark infringement every time she told me to eat more fruit

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 7:21pm

    Eat more bananas!

     

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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 8:18pm

    I think we have a new candidate for "Fuckwit of the Year"

    Whoever the douchebag lawyer for Shit-fil-a is that decided to file this totally horseshit lawsuit is should be deep fried in the same shit they dump their skanky product in. I tried one of their sandwiches one of their outlets in Paramus, NJ about 20 years ago. I have never returned, nor will I. They sucked then, and I would wager they still suck dead dogs' dix.

     

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    David (profile), Nov 30th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

    When I want kale, I think of Chick-fil-A.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 4:55am

    Blame the system..

    I think you missed a point when they sued Burger King a few years ago, when they had an ad campaign of cows saying, 'Eat more Chicken'.. Could a moron in a hurry be confused by this one? Probably. Especially with Burger King being a national chain.. Chik-fil-A won the fight and learned the importance of protecting their interests..

    If Muller-Moore was trying to register his slogan, then it probably was time to pull out the lawyers. Because, if the registration was successful, the chances that he could sue them and take their slogan grows exponentially.

     

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      BigA, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 5:29am

      Re: Blame the system..

      I agree with Mr./Ms. "Coward" here. Since I have had some insight into this company, which is probably, in general (I know there are some bad experiences out there), one of the best fast-food places to work for in our world, I had to step in here.

      I just dealt with a copyright issue this morning that may be related in the thought.

      This does not seem to be necessarily a "Threat" but a clear "statement of intent". And it served its purpose. Every one now knows that this artist has been informed that if his trademark is used to confuse, he will be held accountable. Now he can not even claim he did not get a letter :)

      That is also why you put what is considered a "valid copyright notice" on your documents even though the document is copy protected without it. To show that you intend to protect your rights if misused.

      Unfortunately, often the issue is dealt with badly and the legal system often requires it to look bad (the formal letter of intent) to make it legal. We do not know the preceding of this, but for the benefit of the doubt on Chick-fil-A, they may have had a nice discussion with the guy prior and told him they needed to send a letter, the guy does not like chicken so took the letter to the press. On the other hand, they may not have.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 8:35am

    Got Guns?

    Instantly do you think of guns? NO? of course not you think of milk. why? because it inadvertently advertises for milk. I see it as more advertising in favor of milk. This is the same for Chick-fil-A's slogan.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 9:36am

    I thought of guns. I actually got a pic of one in my head when I read the word. Interesting theory though. "Ate Kale"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 9:54am

    So if I wanted to call my blog TechDirt you wound't mind?

     

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    Oblate (profile), Dec 1st, 2011 @ 10:16am

    Time for a new slogan then...

    I'm just waiting to see my first "Got kale?" bumper sticker.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    chickfila is fucking awesome.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    kale

    Eat more Kale

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Maybe they should harass eatmore chocolate bards too.

     

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    Andrew, Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 6:14pm

    The Law

    To be fair, there is a legal obligation for Chick-fil-A to "protect" it slogan, or else ANYONE will be able to use it. It's not that kale is close to chicken, but that chick-fil-a must not discriminate in refusing to allow others to trademark its name. Chick-fil-A knew about this for a long time, but only raised an issue when Eat More Kale applied for a trademark. Chick-fil-a must protect its slogan for 16 years under the law before it is secure.

    For example, in the south the work "Coke" is synonymous with
    soft drink. Coca-cola used to send people out to restaurants, and whenever the waiter would ask if the person wanted a coke (meaning soft drink in general), Coca Cola would sue. Not because it was an "intellectual property bully" but because that was what was required to secure its brand name.

     

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      Dennis, Mar 11th, 2013 @ 3:40pm

      Re: The Law

      The law needs to recognize prior art when considering trademark registration. Since the phrase "eat more chicken" was used by The Doors in their song 'Back Door Man' which was released in 1967, and presumably the lyrics were copyrighted, Chick-Fil-A is infringing by claiming protection for any use of all or part of the phrase. They can only protect the use of the full phrase with their exact misspellings.

       

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        nasch (profile), Mar 11th, 2013 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re: The Law

        Since the phrase "eat more chicken" was used by The Doors in their song 'Back Door Man' which was released in 1967, and presumably the lyrics were copyrighted, Chick-Fil-A is infringing by claiming protection for any use of all or part of the phrase.

        It's unlikely the copyright holder could prevail in a lawsuit since Chick-Fil-A's use is clearly transformative, not at all a substitute for the Doors' lyrics, and has no impact on the market for the song.

        They can only protect the use of the full phrase with their exact misspellings.

        I'm not so sure. If you opened a chicken restaurant with the slogan "Eat More Chicken" I don't think it's clear you would win the inevitable trademark lawsuit. In fact I think it would be appropriate for you to lose.

         

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    TEA-Time, Dec 4th, 2011 @ 6:53pm

    Let's get even more moronic.

    Gateway (Acer) should sue Chick-fil-A over their use of cows. Heck, TUCOWS should jump in there too, since Gateway got all pissy with them over their use of cows back in '97, but they're still using two cow heads for their logo, so they must be buddy buddy now.

    I haven't eaten at a Chick-fil-A in years, but I do love their waffle fries. Pitty...

     

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      James Dylan Rivis, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:25am

      Re: Chik-fil-A (needs a dictionary).

      Holstein cows are also a very strong Vermont symbol !!! Countersue anyone hahaha ?

       

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    identicon
    James Dylan Rivis, Dec 5th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Eat More Kale

    This morning (12/5) Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will hold a press conference outside the downtown Capitol Stationers (a local retailer of Eat More Kale T Shirts),in support of Eat More Kale T Shirt artist Bo Muller-Moore. The involvement of the Governor of the State of Vermont is bound to elevate the pressure on Chik-fil-A to back off their ridiculous trademark challengewhich was brought to national attention by The John Stewart Show last week.The New York Times has also chimed in ...stay tuned...Vermont takes it's emtrpreneurs very seriously and , historically, is the 'mouse that roars'when it is 'messed with' !!!

     

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    Paul Alan Levy (profile), Dec 6th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    Why shouldn't I be able to promote "Eat More Kale"?

    My take on this fight -- Muller-Moore should not be supported in his effort to take "Eat More Kale: out of the public domain.
    http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2011/12/chik-fil-a-and-eat-more-kale-a-pox-on-both-your-h ouses.html

     

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    identicon
    Orlando airport transportation, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 1:52pm

    Orlando airport taxi and limo

    You can get someone ideal for many years to come right away a single one

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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