If you’ve lived anywhere near a Chick-fil-A restaurant, you’re probably familiar with the billboards and other ads featuring cows and their hoof-painted signs encouraging you to “eat mor chikin,” a phrase that’s been trademarked by the fast food company. But heaven forbid you use those words in their correct formats to promote the eating of something other than Chick-fil-A.
An artist in Vermont finds himself on the receiving end of cease-and-desist orders from Chick-fil-A because he hand-prints shirts that read “Eat More Kale.”
According to lawyers for the chain, the artist’s properly spelled, rather clear message, “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property and diminishes its value.”
And not only is the fast food chain asking the Eat More Kale creator to stop printing that horrid phrase on shirts and other surfaces, it demands he turn over his website EatMoreKale.com to Chick-fil-A.
Not surprisingly, the man behind this seditious message tells the AP he’s prepared to fight big chicken: “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.”
Explains his lawyer about the Eat More Kale message:
It’s more of a philosophical statement about local agriculture and community-supported farmers markets… At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone will step forward and say they brought an ‘eat more kale’ shirt thinking it was a Chick-fil-A product.
The T-shirt creator tells the AP he first received cease-and-desist letters from Chick-fil-A five years ago but after some communications between his previous lawyer and the fast foodies, those letters stopped and he thought the issue had been cleared up.
That is, until he decided to try to protect his own intellectual property by filing a trademark application last summer for his “Eat More Kale” slogan.
“This looks a bit like an example of over-enthusiasm for brand protection,” says the man’s lawyer. “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. If folks aren’t deeply committed to this and it’s a funny byproduct, maybe they won’t fight it.”
Thanks to Cory for the tip!