Fast-food giant Chick-Fil-A bullied Vermont kale enthusiast
Illustration: Brendan Lynch
In one corner: the national fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, with more than 1,800 restaurants and some $5 billion in sales. In the other: an artist named Bo Muller-Moore, who works in a modest studio in Montpelier, Vermont.
Muller-Moore drew the unwanted attention of the privately owned Atlanta-based behemoth when it learned he had been selling T-shirts and other paraphernalia with the slogan “Eat More Kale.” The problem, as the lawyers at Chick-fil-A saw it, was that Muller-Moore was infringing on its “Eat Mor Chikin” trademark. (If you’re not up on Chick-fil-A’s advertising campaign, a semi-literate cow wants you to eat more chicken because, well, you know.)
So Chick-fil-A — infamous for the homophobic views of the Cathy family, which founded and still runs the chain — decided to stamp out Muller-Moore’s modest message by filing a lawsuit. But the chain got a lot more than it bargained for. Not only was the company stymied in court, but last December the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved Muller-Moore’s own trademark application, according to the Burlington Free Press.
“The message is out: Don’t mess with Vermont. And don’t mess with Bo,” Governor Peter Shumlin was quoted as saying by the Free Press. “This isn’t just a win for the little guy who stands up to a corporate bully; it’s a win for our state.”
But give Chick-fil-A credit for a sense of humor. “Cows love kale, too,” said company spokeswoman Carrie Kurlander after the ruling was announced.