3 Silly Years Later, Chik-Fil-A Loses Trademark Dispute Over Kale

from the eat-more-crow dept

A long time ago, in a Techdirt far, far away…well, okay, it was only three years ago and it was right here at the same Techdirt, but Mike wrote about Chik-Fil-A, known purveyors of de-feathered chicken bits, opposing a trademark registration by an artist in Vermont for “Eat more kale.” Why a company that sells dead fowl thought it had an issue of customer confusion on its hands over some t-shirts that suggest people consume more tasteless leaves is beyond me, but it happened. And, now, three damned years later, the legal battle is over and kale has defeated chickens.

Bo Muller-Moore said Thursday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted his application to trademark “eat more kale,” a phrase he says promotes local agriculture. He silk-screens the phrase on T-shirts and sweatshirts and prints them on bumper stickers that are common in Vermont and beyond.

When asked what he felt caused the trademark office to approve his application, Muller-Moore, of Montpelier, said, “Your guess is as good as mine.” The news was posted on the office’s website Tuesday. “I’d like to think that maybe some persistence and polite defiance, you know, and proving to them that we were in it for the long haul,” he said. “If it took us a decade, we’re going to fight for a decade.”

Instead, it only took a 3rd of a decade, which sounds better, but renders me to the exact same frustrating question of what the hell? Chicken is meat and kale isn’t. Anyone confused by the concepts of chicken and kale is not a moron in a hurry, they’re criminally insane. For it to take years to resolve this is absolutely asinine. It’s quite nice to hear that Muller-Moore was willing to stand on principle rather than cave to the demands of a corporate entity, but come on, this can’t be what the framers of trademark law had in mind.

“In our case, we said we’re not going to cease and desist until a federal judge tells us to and as far as the trademark goes, I never wavered from the idea that I deserved protection from copycat artists,” Muller-Moore said.

Easy, champ, we were just starting to like you. One wonders how much money was spent on the legal process to get us to a 3-year-conclusion that kale and chicken are significantly different?

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Companies: chik-fil-a

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Comments on “3 Silly Years Later, Chik-Fil-A Loses Trademark Dispute Over Kale”

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30 Comments
Dan J. (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mike may or may not hate IP law but he’s clearly biased against kale. “Tasteless leaves?” Kale is certainly not tasteless and if the dish served is in fact tasteless that’s clearly an issue with the cook preparing the dish, not an inherent issue with kale. Let’s put the blame where it properly belong and leave personal biases and prejudices out of the discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

What does this say about Chick-Fil-A's customers?

If Chick-Fil-A is so concerned that their customer base can confuse chicken with kale, is this really implying that Chick-Fil-A thinks their customer base is nothing more than an uneducated group of color-blind, taste-impeded retards?

To be clear, I don’t think that, but then again, I wasn’t making the argument that chicken and kale can be confused.

Angela100 (profile) says:

instead of being snarky about Bo’s comments about not ceasing and desisting, you should be reporting the bigger story which is little guys should not be intimidated and run out of business. Bo proved that persistence can pay off. Bo made the most of the publicity by reaching out to new customers, myself included, that chose to follow him on fb and support him by buying products. In this time, we have gotten to know Bo, his wife and kids and you know what? we really like them.
He started this process because there were rip off artists out there making his t-shirts and making it look like they were from his company when they were not. Now that to me is what the laws are supposed to protect trademarks for.
I am so pleased that Bo has finally won this case. The lesson? Don’t let yourself get pushed around.

Anonymous Coward says:

Three Years Is not Unusual

Everyone seems to keep pointing at 3 years and proclaiming it was for determining that chicken and kale are different. However, typical time from filing to allowance without opposition is around two years, though I have seen it go as long as 2.5 years. So, the time to resolve the opposition was likely about a year. Most of that was likely because of correspondence between the parties as opposed to actual action.

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