In August, Bo Muller-Moore applied for a federal trademark for the phrase “Eat More Kale”. Moore has been using this phrase on t-shirts and eventually on his website, eatmorekale.com, since 2000. In September, Chick fil-A filed to block Muller-Moore’s trademark application, claiming that it conflicts with its slogan and website eatmorchikin.com.
This is not the first time that Muller-Moore has had a run-in with Chick fil-A. According to Seven Days, six years after Muller-Moore started selling his “Eat More Kale” t-shirts, he received a cease and desist letter from Chick fil-A. Muller-Moore responded by saying that he planned to continue using the phrase. He never heard back from Chick fil-A until they filed to block his trademark application this September.
Seven Days points out the significant difference in scale between the two organizations. Chick fil-A made $3.58 billion from its 1,560+ locations in 2010, while Muller-Moore still doesn’t make enough money off of his “Eat More Kale” logo to support himself.
This seems eerily similar to the time that the National Pork Board sent a cease and desist order to Jennifer Laycock, the blogger known as “The Lactivist,” for selling t-shirts that that referred to breastmilk as “the other white milk.” In its letter, the pork board claimed that the t-shirts Laycock was selling via her Cafepress store, were a violation of the National Pork Board’s trademarked phrase “the other white meat.” In the end, Laycock agreed to stop selling the shirts and switched to shirts that said “Breast: the original white milk” instead.
Does kale really present a business threat to Chick fil-A? Does breastmilk really present a business threat to pork? Or are these lawsuits more about big corporate players asserting their power over the little guy?