Local Vermont man beats Chick-fil-A in Trademark Infringement case
January 27, 2015
A Vermont folk artist, Bo Muller-Moore has won his trademark battle against fast-food giant Chick-fil-A. The United States Patent and Trademark Office granted his application to trademark "eat more kale," a phrase he says promotes local agriculture.
Muller began using the trademark phrase "Eat more kale" in 2001 after a farmer friend who grows kale asked him to make three t-shirts for his family for $10 each. The phrase caught on and with the approval of his friend, he began using the mark on bumper stickers and clothing. He silk-screens the phrase on t-shirts and sweatshirts and prints it on bumper stickers that are common in Vermont and beyond.
In the summer of 2011, Muller filed a trademark application. A short time later, he received a cease-and-desist letter from Chick-fil-A demanding that he stop using the mark because the company believed it would be confused with their slogan "eat mor chikin." In the letter, Chick-fil-A cited 30 examples of others who had tried to use the "eat more" phrase and withdrew it after the company objected. Chick-fil-A uses the phrase in images that include cows holding signs with the misspelled phrase "eat mor chikin."
Muller called Chick-fil-A's bluff and used social media to win the support of state officials, pro-bono lawyers and law sutdens from a legal clinic at the University of New Hampshire law school. Govenor Shumlin proclaimed last week that Muller was an example of Vermont's independence and entrepreneurial spirit. Shumlin said, "[t]his is more than just about a victory for 'eat more kale, it's a victory for grow local. It's a victory for Vermont's small food and farm agricultural renaissance, and it's a victory for Vermont."