Bo Muller-Moore, the Vermont artist responsible for creating T-shirts with the “Eat More Kale” slogan, will not have to stop using the phrase as Chick-fil-A had hoped when it sent Muller-Moore a cease-and-desist letter in 2011 and threatened the small-scale screen printer with a lawsuit.
The fast food chain alleged that Muller-Moore’s use of “Eat More Kale” sounded too much like “Eat More Chickin,” the slogan used by the chain (misspelled intentionally to look like cows wrote it, encouraging people to opt for chicken meat instead of cow). Chick-fil-A has been using that slogan since 1995, and Muller-Moore only filed for his trademark three years ago.
The U.S. Trademark and Patent office has now approved Muller-Moore’s application and his “Eat More Kale,” slogan. After receiving the warning from Chick-fil-A, he proceeded with the application process with the assistance of pro bono legal help.
“Chick-fil-A can keep serving chicken and I get to keep printing EAT MORE KALE t-shirts,” Muller-Moore said in an e-mailed statement to the Washington Post. “While I never would have dreamed it would take the USPTO so long to decide on my trademark case, I’m thrilled that reason prevailed and Chick-fil-A has to eat some crow.”
Muller-Moore said he also hopes his victory can protect other companies from Chick-fil-A’s “trademark bullying spree.”
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) also took this victory to heart. “The message is out: Don’t mess with Vermont. And don’t mess with Bo,” Shumlin said in a statement. “This isn’t just a win for the little guy who stands up to a corporate bully; it’s a win for our state. In Vermont, we care about what’s in our food, who grows it, and where it comes from.”
Shumlin’s comment sounds like a message to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association and the biotech industry, currently trying to reverse the state’s recent passing of a bill requiring labeling on genetically engineered foods.
Chick-fil-A has filed similar action against as many as 30 other brands and businesses using “eat more” in slogans.
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Image via Eat More Kale