For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

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Thursday, 10 May 2007

Bargain bucket trade mark threats


The IPKat thanks Sarah Harris for pointing out this BBC report that lawyers from Kentucky Fried Chicken have been making threatening noises to a country pub in North Yorkshire about the pub's description of its "family feast" menu. KFC apparently ordered the removal of the offending words, although presumably not because they own the copyright, as reported, but because of UK trade marks (here and here, for example) registered in the name of KFC.

The pub landlord used the term to describe their festive meal including Guinness and stilton pate, roast turkey and Christmas pudding.

Hot off the mark, presumably given the less than glowing press attention KFC have now backed down, as reported here. A spokesman for KFC said, "KFC has to protect its trademarks against those who seek to trade off its brand. KFC has spoken to Mrs. Daly at the Tan Hill Inn and confirmed that it will not take this case any further", further adding, "It’s an unusual situation that has been blown out of all proportion".

The IPKat knows that some US companies can be quite protective of their marks, even to the extent of attracting ridicule. In this case, the ridicule appears to be well deserved. He is surprised though that this sort of overbearing threatening behaviour was allowed to happen in the first place. Such behaviour can sometimes backfire, causing more brand damage than the action is worth, which perhaps KFC have quickly realised. A company that sells its food out of buckets apparently does care about its image more than this Kat realised.

More family feasts here, here and here. More buckets here, here and here.

1 comment:

Guy said...

Some years ago I gave a talk on trade marks to a group of private detectives at their annual conference. Afterwards one member told me that a well known purveror of hamburgers and like goods paid him £25 for each trade mark misuse he reported. His usual reports related to roadside vendor's chalk boards. It is possible KFC has a similar bonus programme which accounts for obscure pub menus getting into trouble.

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