As I previously reported on this blog, fast-food company Chick-fil-A is locked in a highly publicized trademark dispute with a Vermont folk artist named Bo Muller-Moore. While the public has rallied around Muller-Moore, he suffered a legal set back when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary ruling against his trademark application for “Eat More Kale.”
The trademark dispute began when Chick-fil-A sent Muller-Moore a cease and desist letter, telling him to stop using the phrase on hand-screened t-shirts, which are sold in Vermont and across the country via his website, eatmorekale.com. The fast food giant argues it is too similar to the company’s already trademarked “Eat Mor Chickn” phrase.
Chick-fil-A also recently filed a letter of protest with the USPTO. The Ofice then issued a preliminary decision citing the likelihood of confusion between Muller-Moore’s slogan and Chick-fil-A’s advertising campaign.
As detailed in the letter from the USPTO, the two slogans were compared on the basis of “appearance, sound, connotation and commercial impression.” Because the two “highly similar marks” are both used on clothing, “consumers are likely to reach the mistaken conclusion that the goods and services are related and originate from a common source.”
Muller-Moore now has six months to appeal the preliminary decision. Not surprisingly, he has already indicated that he does not plan to abandon his application. “There’s still a lot of fighting to be done,” he says.