In central Vermont, you’re apparently nothing if you don’t have one of Bo Muller-Moore’s “Eat More Kale” shirts. So many people have them they’ve apparently been “part of the central Vermont landscape, culture and vernacular” since at least 2008.
But they could soon become a collectors item.
Muller-Moore has been fighting to save his small, simple business from extinction since 2011, when Chick-fil-a decided “Eat More Kale” infringed on it’s “Eat More Chikin trademark. His plight has received national attention—Yahoo!, Huffington Post—due to “preliminary no” issued last week from the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in response to his request for his own trademark.
He actually claims to have never heard of Chick-fil-a until he received their first threats of legal action. Not that that has much bearing on the case, but it also seems kind of hard to believe—not only is Muller-Moore a native of Waffle Fry-friendly Birmingham, he’s also an Auburn graduate (an Auburn grad who’s never heard of Chick-fil-a?!), or at least he tells folks he is (we can’t find him in AU’s alumni directory), and Facebooks like he is.
Muller-Moore actually interrupted his regular Facebook flow of updates on his efforts to save “Eat More Kale” last week to remember the Toomer’s Oaks:
“.0005% of you will know why I’m posting this pick this week. To that .0005% of ya’ll….AU is much more than two trees! I’ll miss em as much as you will though.”
That’s good enough for us.
h/t Will Docimo.
Related: Give’em Ale: Top American craft beer was first brewed in an Auburn bathtub.
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On their website, one of the t-shirt design options is “Kale isn’t chikin”
That might not help their cause.
However, recommending that you eat more of something is pretty generic. I don’t see how Chik-fil-A can claim trademark over the phrase “eat more (blank).”
None of knows the details, but there are similar cases that don’t bode well for Muller-Moore. Texas DoT created the phrase, “Don’t mess with Texas” and routinely sues to squash similar slogans. Also, the National Milk Processor Board regularly sues to protect the “Got Milk” slogan against similar turns-of-phrase.
I bet Chik-fil-a has lost a lot of business because of these kale shirts.
Bo Muller-Moore says
War Eagle. Bo, the “Eat More Kale” guy here. Really glad to be getting some AU press.
Am not an AU grad but an AU drop out. Was there for 3 awesome years. 91-94. Too much fun! Graduated from Samford Univ in 97. Have been in Vt. since. Robert Moore was my name. Changed it to Muller–Moore when married. Bo is a nick name. Trade mark Case is not going well. Trade Mark law is tricky! Let me be clear : If i’d heard of CFA or wanted to ride their coat tails, I would have made my design say Eat Mor Kale. I designed Eat More Kale at the request of a Yankee farmer( 12 years ago), who years later was ask if he’d heard of Chick Fil A…he answered Chick Fa Who?
I’m looking for a TM to protect my EXACT phrase on T-shirts. Chick Fil A is looking to protect themselves from ANY BUSINESS of ANY size that uses the word EAT in their title. ( MOR is not a real word) They’ve shut 40 Mom n Pops down in the past 10 years. I”m looking to protect my micro business from real threats of confusion..not Chick Fil A’s perceived confusion. Sad day for America. Parody is protected yet my Original (albeit Simple) Design cannot be protected? The guys that own LIFE IS GOOD t-shirts got a trademark. I believe I deserve the same protection they get. I think Chick Fil A’s customers are smarter than Chick Fil A’s lawyers do. War Damn Eagle.
Thanks for commenting, Bo. We’re on your side. This is dumb.