After eight years of battling with fast food chain Chick-fil-A, the maker of “Eat More Kale” products scored a victory when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted him trademark protection.
A fan of the leafy green vegetable, Bo Muller-Moore began making t-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan “Eat More Kale.” But in 2006, the national fast food chain objected to the phrase. The chicken restaurant has used the slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” since 1995, featured in ads purportedly written by cows seeking to avoid being eaten by encouraging the consumption of chicken in lieu of beef.
The battle continued for years, with Chick-fil-A filing an official letter of protest when Muller-Moore filed for trademark protection in 2011. It told the USPTO that the “Eat More Kale” phrase “is confusingly similar in sight, sound, meaning, and overall commercial impression,” that consumers would mistakenly believe that Chick-fil-A expanded its products and services, and that items with the kale slogan originated from the same source. The letter also cited 31 other “Eat More” companies that agreed to cease and desist their use of such slogan language upon objection from the restaurant chain, ranging from “Eat More Beer” to “Eat More Ice Cream.”
Finding the arguments unavailing, the USPTO granted protection in December to “Eat More Kale” for a host of products, from clothing to grocery bags.
To read the USPTO’s notice of allowance, click here.
Why it matters: To celebrate, Muller-Moore and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin held a press conference touting the victory as not only a win for mom-and-pop operations against big corporations, but for the local food movement as well. “I am now allowed to protect my simple, original art from copycat artists, and hopefully Chick-fil-A’s trademark bullying spree can come to an end,” he said. “Don’t mess with Vermont,” Shumlin added. “In Vermont, we care about what’s in our food, who grows it, and where it comes from. That’s what Bo and Eat More Kale represent. And that’s something worth fighting for.” A spokesperson for Chick-fil-A responded that “Cows love kale, too!”