Chik-fil-A versus Eat More Kale (help fight corporate bullying and protect a Vermont small business!)



Readers will know I have recently developed an affinity for kale chips. At first I was a bit afraid of the big, poky, dark green bunches of kale that came with our weekly CSA share. I’d been seeing my friends and fellow Vermonters with their Eat More Kale shirts and stickers, had met the maker of these shirts, and felt emboldened to bring kale into my family’s diet.

And I’m a convert, as you can see here.  
Now I’ve never set foot in a Chik-fil-A.  Not once.  I actually had to check to spell the name.  No matter that Chik-fil-A sold $3.5 billion worth of chicken sandwiches in 1,500 locations nationwide in 2010.
I’m sure that’s factory farmed, super processed, and oh-so-unhealthy chicken being doled out to America by this massive corporation.  Being a vegetarian and advocate for local foods, I don’t plan on going there ever in this lifetime unless there is a bathroom emergency of some sort.
Right now they are being threatened.  You read that right– this multi-billion dollar company is being threatened by Vermont’s own Bo Muller-Moore.  What does he do?
He makes these sweet Eat More Kale T-shirts.  And apparently, Chik-fil-A thinks no one else should use the words “Eat More” in commerce. Don’t you think America could use a little more of an “Eat Less” mentality, with one third of our adult population obese?  
Anyway, Chik-fil-A thinks that Bo using the saying Eat More Kale on his shirts devalues Chik-fil-A in some way.  During Bo’s application process for a trademark, Chik-fil-A has asked him to, you know, just shut down his entire business and give his inventory to them.  
They apparently tried this back in 2006.  Bo got some help from a local lawyer with the Vermont Arts Council.  Chik-fil-A backed down and he thought the problem was in the past.  
Oh no, here they came again in October 2011, with long letter from Chik-fil-A’s lawyer, demanding, among other things (according to the Burlington Free Press):

“Muller-Moore is to immediately abandon his application for a U.S. trademark. He is to “cease and forever desist” all plans to use the phrase “Eat More Kale” for his business. And he is to arrange for the transfer of the eatmorekale.com domain name to Chick-fil-A.

“We note that Chick-fil-A would not object to your client’s uses of “Eat Kale” or eatkale.com,” Reggy writes, giving Muller-Moore seven days to comply or face “all available remedies,” including opposition to Muller-Moore’s application for a U.S. trademark.

They are actually suggesting that people will confuse the phrase Eat More Kale with Eat Mor Chikin.  Seriously.  How stupid do they think Americans are?  Wait, don’t answer that, think about this:

  •  the nearest Chik-fil-A is 120 miles away and not in Vermont
  • the actual words of the two sayings are not the same at all (apparently there is some oh so clever ad with “semi-literate” cows writing the “Eat Mor Chikin” saying on billboards)
  • Eat More Kale represents local agriculture, farmer’s markets, and whole foods– um, not fast food.  Hard to confuse, even for the brightest of we Americans!
We in Vermont like to keep it local.  We are perpetual underdogs, being a state with such a small population, and progressive politics.  For underdogs, creative types, for those who believe people are people, not corporations, Bo needs your help to fight this corporate giant.  
This story has legs.  CBS and the Daily Kos just picked it up. My friend and local food systems advocate Rob Smart has catapulted this story into the stratosphere.  
Chik-fil-A:  sometimes David wins.  More and more Americans are tired of corporate bullies and are turning to local businesses, foods, and community.  Maybe that is the real threat to your business model.

What do you think about this, readers?

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