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.

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Companies: chick-fil-a

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Comments on “Chick-fil-A Says 'Eat More Kale' Slogan Infringes On Its 'Eat Mor Chikin'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Dennis says:

Re: 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.

Alexander says:

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.

nasch (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

BigA says:

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.

Andrew says:

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.

Dennis says:

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.

nasch (profile) says:

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.

TEA-Time (profile) says:

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…

James Dylan Rivis says:

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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