Chicken Vs. Kale: Artist Fights Chick-Fil-A Suit | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Chicken Vs. Kale: Artist Fights Chick-Fil-A Suit

Play associated audio

This is a story of David and Goliath — except it's kale vs. chicken. Vermont folk artist Bo Muller-Moore is fighting charges of trademark infringement from the Atlanta-based fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

Muller-Moore runs a T-shirt business from his Montpelier, Vt., studio around the phrase "Eat More Kale." He got the idea 10 years ago from a farmer friend who wanted to promote local agriculture — and sell more kale.

Each year, Muller-Moore sells thousands of T-shirts, and at $25 a pop he makes enough to support his family.

"At a very pragmatic level, people up here really seem to love the hell out of kale — or hate it," Muller-Moore said. "So, I hadn't even really thought in terms of competition."

Then in August, to prevent any copycats, he applied for a federal trademark. That's when Chick-fil-A accused him of infringing on its trademark, "Eat Mor Chikin." The fast-food chain said that, like any company, it must defend its brand as well as its award-winning ad campaign, which features cows encouraging consumers to opt for chicken over beef. In a statement, Chick-fil-A said the law doesn't allow it to distinguish between large and small businesses.

But Muller-Moore isn't giving up — and he's got some powerful allies.

At a packed news conference in downtown Montpelier, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin stood shoulder to shoulder with Muller-Moore as they launched Team Kale, an effort to raise money for Muller-Moore's defense through — what else — T-shirt sales.

"If you think that Vermonters don't understand the difference between kale and a chicken sandwich, we invite you to Vermont, and we'll give you a lesson about the difference between a kale and a chicken," Shumlin said. "There are some very distinct features that should be noticed in that difference. Kale is a vegetable; chickens are birds. Birds create manure; kale eats manure."

Chick-fil-A managers wouldn't comment for this story, but in a statement they said the company will continue to protect its trademark until Muller-Moore stops printing his kale T-shirts and turns over his website, eatmorekale.com.

So far, Muller-Moore's decision to fight Chick-fil-A has only been great for business. Over the weekend, he got so many orders that he's struggling to keep up — he's now working 14-hour days.

Win or lose, Shumlin said the Team Kale campaign is about sending Chick-fil-A's top brass a message.

"Don't mess with Vermont. Don't mess with kale. And, Chick-fil-A, get out of the way because we are going to win this one," he said.

Copyright 2011 Vermont Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.vpr.net.

NPR

'F' Is For Fraudster In A Family Novel For Our Modern Times

Daniel Kehlmann's F, about three brothers abandoned by their father, examines the detail of lives lived without integrity. It is brilliantly translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway.
NPR

No. 1 Most Expensive Coffee Comes From Elephant's No. 2

A coffee entrepreneur claims his brew is different — and better — than the trendy civet poop coffee. And it starts with the idea that elephants, unlike humans or civets, are herbivores.
WAMU 88.5

Maureen McDonnell Didn't Give Special Treatment To Star Scientific, Witness Testifies

A defense witness in the corruption trail against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, says the former first lady often traveled the state promoting state businesses, countering the notion she gave special treatment to the company at the heart of the corruption trial.
NPR

The Momentum Of The Ice Bucket Challenge — And What It Means For ALS

A recent fundraising challenge has gone viral on social media, calling attention to research into Lou Gehrig's disease. Forbes contributor Dan Diamond discusses the state of that research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.