If you live in the United States, chances are you’re familiar with “eat mor chikin.” It’s the whimsical slogan of Chick-fil-A, the fast food chain. It’s also their (very valuable) trademark. So when a Vermont man named Bo Muller-Moore tried to register the trademark “Eat More Kale,” it’s not surprising that Chick-fil-A tried to stop him.

As you may know, the cornerstone of trademark infringement is the “likelihood of confusion,” which takes into account whether others might confuse the origin, sponsorship, or affiliation of your trademark and the infringing one.Chick-fil-A argued that Muller-Moore’s slogan, which he was using on t-shirts, was a little too similar and likely to cause confusion. Muller-Moore started using the phrase in 2001 and decided to apply for a trademark in 2011. Chick-fil-A opposed his registration, and the USPTO initially claimed that the marks were confusingly similar, thus barring Muller-Moore from using his Kale slogan. However, after getting some legal help, Muller-Moore successfully overcame the USPTO’s Office action — the whole process took three years — and the trademark was given the green light last week.

 

Confusingly similar?

Are the marks really similar? Maybe in passing, but I certainly don’t believe they’re confusingly similar under the government’s standards. Either way, the story nicely showcases how a small entrepreneur can overcome a larger corporation with some persistence.