Bo sells a t-shirt that says "Eat More Kale" from his home in rural Vermont. Titanic chicken sandwich chain Chick-Fil-A claims that this shirt infringes on their trademark for the slogan "Eat Mor (sic) Chikin' (sic)." They've demanded that Bo shut down and turn over his website to them. Rather than capitulate, Bo is making a defiant documentary about his refusal, and he's raising funds on Kickstarter.
Of course, I might not win --- the odds are against me. All over the country 'trademark bullies,' large corporations that bully small businesses over alleged claims of trademark infringement, are legally harassing small businesses and wearing them down with repeated lawsuits and appeals. In the face of overwhelming legal bills, most small businesses just give up.
This is more than just plain wrong: it's un-American.
By helping make this documentary I want to shine a light on this issue, my battle, and other trademark bullies, too. If I win, it's a great story; if I lose, it's a sad story. Either way, Jim and I think it's a story worth telling.
It seems to me that there shouldn't be any valid trademark claim here. Leaving aside the spelling issue, the graphic presentation of "Eat More Kale" is very different from "Eat mor chikin." The phrase "Eat more," is pretty generic, and is unlikely to result in confusion. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm inclined to think that if Bo can stay in the fight long enough -- that is, if they don't outspend him into oblivion -- he stands a chance of winning.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.