Although many Americans can’t tell kale from a head of iceberg lettuce, pretty much everyone can agree that it looks nothing like chicken. Everyone, that is, but Chick-fil-A. In the multimillion-dollar fast-food chain’s beady little eyes, kale looks a lot like trademark infringement.
According to the Associated Press (quoted in the New York Daily News), Chick-fil-A has taken issue with Bo Muller-Moore, a Vermont folk artist whose one-man business is built around T-shirts printed with the slogan “Eat More Kale.” Chick-fil-A’s own trademarked phrase is, of course, “Eat Mor Chikn.” Despite the rather obvious differences between the two phrases—for one, Muller-Moore can spell—a lawyer for the Atlanta-based corporation sent Muller-Moore a cease-and-desist letter contending that “Eat More Kale” “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property and diminishes its value.” The letter also demanded that Muller-Moore surrender his website, eatmorekale.com, to Chick-fil-A.
Muller-Moore, who has been using “Eat More Kale” since 2000 and filed a (still pending) trademark application last summer, received similar letters from Chick-fil-A five years ago, and has hired a lawyer. One of his supporters has started an online petition demanding that the country’s second-largest retailer of fried fowl “stop bullying small business owners.” So far, it’s gotten more than 13,000 signatures; as one signee commented, “I don’t even like kale but this is just fucked up.”
Whether or not the case makes it all the way to the highest court in the land, it at least seems to have been good for Muller-Moore’s bottom line: “Due to unusually high demand,” a message on his website reads, “please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.”