Bo Muller-Moore, Vermont resident, really likes kale, a special, leafy kind of cabbage, so much so that he wants to share it with the world, emblazoned on shirts he sells, complete with the slogan, “Eat more kale.” However, it seems not all people like kale as much as Muller-Moore, 38, does, as the fast-food chain, Chick-Fil-A, sent him a cease-and-desist letter last fall. The company claims that the slogan will make people confuse it with their own, “Eat Mor Chikin.” Moore-Muller, however, decided not to be taken in so easily.
His decision to fight back has resulted in an ongoing court battle, as well as a wave of public support. His plea for help was posted as a petition on Change.org, and the current governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, also gives his support and promised to appear on a talk show with Muller-Moore. A former governor’s aide is helping him with public relations.
In addition, the kale fan has been using Facebook to get the masses informed of the situation and band together behind him and his cause. Fans have posted supportive comments on his wall, sent kind e-mails, and signed the petition.
Muller-Moore began to use the phrase in 2000, when a friend asked him to make shirts with the words on them for his family. More and more people began coming to him, until Muller-Moore found himself with a small business on his hands. The phrase “Eat more kale” currently appears on T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, and bumper stickers. Last summer, he decided to guard his slogan and sent in an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application is currently pending.
Despite Chick-Fil-A’s arguments, many remain skeptical that Muller-Moore’s trademark would confuse consumers looking for Chik-Fil-A products. Few buyers are likely to mix chicken up with kale. At this time, there are no Chick-Fil-A restaurants in the state of Vermont. The closest one is located in Nashua, New Hampshire, 120 miles from Montpelier, Vermont, where Muller-Moore claims residence. “This is corporate bullying,” said Muller-Moore.
About five years ago, Chick-Fil-A sent a cease-and-desist order to Muller-Moore similar to the one he recently received. A lawyer hired by the Vermonter wrote the company a series of letters, and when Muller-Moore did not receive a reply back from them, he assumed the argument had gone his way.
As of last November, Muller-Moore and his lawyer decided not to back down and were still planning on going ahead with copyrighting the phrase. The issue has still not been settled as of this time.
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