By Debby Winters
Remember my March 5, 2012 blog about large corporations trying to bully small companies with trademark infringement lawsuits? We discussed how large corporations, such as Chic-fil-A, who have trademarked slogans like “Eat Mor Chikin,” are going after smaller companies with slogans that are similar, but only barely similar. It is hypothesized that they do this to try to put these small companies out of business by tying up their financial resources in legal battles that last for years. The example that we discussed was a company in Vermont that was using the slogan “Eat More Kale.” Chick-fil-A has claimed that consumers would be confused with its slogan and has asked the US trademark office for an injunction to prevent the small Vermont business from using the Kale slogan. The decision about the injunction has not been decided. The Vermont owner filed for trademark registration for his own slogan to try to get Chick-fil-A off its back but Chick-fil-A went beyond the cease and desist letter that it sent and filed an opposition to the trademark registration filed by the Vermont Kale Company.
Since the “Kale” story can to light, Chick-fil-A has threatened more than 30 others over similar suits, most of which are just as silly as likening chicken to kale. The question we have to ask if whether Chick-fil-A really thinks that customers who are buying chicken would be confused by kale.
Social Media helped these small companies early on by bringing individuals together in a way never possible before the explosion of social media websites such as Facebook. People got together to form Facebook pages that support the small companies and to bring attention to what was going on. Now, in addition to social media websites, petitions have been created for the masses to sign and show their support for causes that would otherwise be unknown to the “masses” without the use of the internet. There is one such petition that you can sign to ask Chick-fil-A to withdraw the opposition it has filed in the “Kale” trademark case. By ordinary people banning together in this way, you can say no to corporate bullying.
The bottom line here is that corporations should give its customers the benefit of the doubt and stay away from these small start-ups. Consumers can tell the difference between a piece of chicken and a green leafy vegetable and Chick-fil-A is insulting its consumers with these lawsuits. If you agree that this is true and if you want to be part of the group that tells Chick-fil-A that you are standing up to corporate bullying, sign the petition.