The Players: Chick-Fil-A, the Southern based fried-chicken fast-food chain, which employs the tagline "Eat Mor Chiken" (sic) to sell its greasy deliciousness; Eat More Kale, an eco-friendly T-shirt business that promotes sustainable food screen-printing its very similar sounding slogan "Eat More Kale" on t-shirts.
Opening Serve: After applying for a federal trademark for the Eat More Kale logo, hoping to block other artists from copying his design, Eat More Kale received a letter from Chick-Fil-A threatening to halt Eat More Kale's trademark application. Chick-Fil-A claims that the "Eat More" combination will confuse its customers and dilute its brand. And it wants the small Vermont business to stop using the phrase.
The Return Volley: As it's not the first time Chick-Fil-A has threatened the business, Eat More Kale has decided to fight back. Back in 2006, the chicken company sent a cease and desist letter to the shirt company, threatening to shut it down and asking for all of its t-shirts. That time, some legal counsel scared Chick-Fil-A away. Now that Chick-Fil-A's at it again, the screen printers are ready to retaliate. "Our plan is to not back down. This feels like David versus Goliath. I know what it's like to protect what's yours in business," Eat More Kale's Bo Muller-Moore told The AP. So the company has started an online petition at Change.org addressed to Chik-Fil-A's management team asking the restaurant to back off. So far it has 5,206 signatures out of a 10,000 person goal.
What They Say They're Fighting About: A slogan. Chick-Fil-A claims that customers will confuse the two taglines and thus "dilute the distinctiveness" and "diminishes the value" of Chick-Fil-A's brand, the company wrote in a letter, reports The AP. Of course, the two foods -- one a healthy green veggie, the other a super-processed blob of breaded fried chicken -- couldn't be any different. Eat More Kale alleges corporate bullying from the franchise
What They're Really Fighting About: This is a classic tale of big corporation versus the little guy, with a sustainability twist. These companies are the antitheses of each other: big versus small; sustainably minded versus not. Sure, Chick-Fil-A wants to maintain a pure brand. But we all know nobody is confusing kale with fried-chicken. And it's only more offensive to Eat More Kale that a super unsustainable, unhealthy fast-food chain is the adversary.
Who's Winning Now: Though Eat More Kale's putting up a valiant struggle, claiming it will fight "root to feather" to keep its slogan, Chick-Fil-A has succeeded in blocking others from using its precious "Eat More" tagline before. The company claimed in its letter to Eat More Kale that it has succeeded 30 other times in getting people to back away from the slogan. While the screening T-shirt company has a petition with over 5,000 signatures on Change.org, it still has 5,000 more to go. And the fast-food chain has lawyer power on its side. Usually lawyers trump petitions in these cases.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.