It’s Chick-fil-A v. Kale in trademark tussle

For what was intended to be a lighthearted and humorous campaign, Chik-fil-A’s “Eat mor chikin” slogan is stirring up quite a bit of trouble.

Naples residents might have seen the advertisements for the chicken-centric fast food joint. Usually, they depict cows or pigs writing the slogan “eat mor chikin,” with the joke being that they are trying to discourage consumers from eating beef or pork and thus save their own skins in the process.

You might not think this funny approach to branding would result in a lawsuit, but Chick-fil-A recently sued an artist who has built up a business selling T-shirts that read “Eat More Kale,” claiming that his slogan violated their trademark. Chick-fil-A wants him to take down his website and stop selling T-shirts that say “Eat More Kale” on them. Since this man’s livelihood is making these T-shirts, this amounts to a request for him to end his career and search for some other means of support.

In a preliminary ruling, an attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office concluded that there was a likelihood of confusion between the two slogans.

Naturally, the artist disagreed with this. He said he has been selling his T-shirts for 11 years and has not had a single customer tell him that his “Eat More Kale” saying reminds him or her of Chick-fil-A’s “Eat mor chikn.”

What do you think? Do you think there is enough similarity between these two that one should not be allowed to use his slogan? Or do you think they are separate enough that there really is no reason to worry that consumers will be confused?

Source: Seven Days, “Kale Imitation.” Corin Hirsch, April 4, 2012