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A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website. Documentary.
A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website. Documentary.
A t-shirt artist defies Chick-fil-a, a multi-billion dollar fast food chain, when they lay claim to his art and website. Documentary.
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Bo's press conference + Some (really) long term plans for the 'Eat More Kale guy'

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Hello Backers and Supporters! 

It's official -- on Friday December 12th, 2014, on the steps of the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier along with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Bo Muller-Moore held a press conference and made a big announcement concerning his efforts to trademark 'Eat More Kale.' 

Bo's opening statement at the press conference: 

"I'm so glad to stand before you with some good news! For 38 months I've been in a legal wrestling match with the fast food giant, Chick-fil-A, and the U.S. trademark office. Well I'm proud to announce that as of December 9th I've been granted a trademark for my design for Eat More Kale. And as important as that trademark is, I've called Chick-fil-A's bluff on their cease and desist demands. I am not ceasing and desisting -- I am thriving thanks to people like you and thanks to Vermont and people from beyond."

As you can imagine, Bo was happy to be making his announcement surrounded by friends, family and supporters. In addition to the invited guests, there were also about a dozen members of the press in attendance. 

Following the press conference, Bo gave us an interview in which he was reflective and surprisingly pensive. 

Bo: "When I mentioned that to Melissa, she said, 'You're really thinking about what your tombstone is going to look like? And I said, 'I am."
Bo: "When I mentioned that to Melissa, she said, 'You're really thinking about what your tombstone is going to look like? And I said, 'I am."

We sat down with Bo in Meeting Room 11 in the statehouse and, surrounded by portraits of former governors and civil war generals, conducted an hour long on-camera interview in which Bo mused on the day's events, his three year journey to get his trademark registered, and mortality: 

"I like the idea of being 'Bo the Eat More Kale guy' so much that I've decided recently that when I die I want to be buried at Hope Cemetery over in Barre, a cemetery that's famous for its custom tombstones -- and I've decided recently that I want a tombstone shaped like a t-shirt and I want it to say 'Here lies Bo, the Eat More Kale guy.' And I hope when people see that they'll say, 'That was that guy who stood up to the chicken slingers.' ... I hope 'Eat More Kale' and the idea of 'Eat More Kale' will last. And I hope the memory of the guy that stands up to billionaires will last. And if it means that I have to purchase my own tombstone shaped like a t-shirt, I'm that shameless. I would love the idea of someone standing above my grave and saying, 'That's the guy that decided to stand up and fight the impossible fight.'"

If you'd like to check out some of the press coverage on Bo's announcement, here are links to coverage from the AP, Huffington Post and SevenDays with Seven Questions for Bo

A photo essay from our footage of the press conference: 

Our next update will be prior to Christmas.

Okay folks, Bo's news is obviously big news for our documentary which -- assuming nothing changes, or before the USPTO issues Eat More Kale's trademark registration in the next six months -- it means we potentially have an ending! It also means we can finally begin planning the last stages of the production and completion of the film. So I'll be back in touch before Christmas with a complete run down of where our film is now, where we're heading, and an idea of when we'll get there. 

In the meantime, have a great beginning to your holiday season!

AP NewsBreak: Vermont Folk Artist Wins Trademark Protection for 'Eat More Kale' Phrase

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Good Morning from Snowy Vermont! 

Our camera crew is heading to the Vermont statehouse in Montpelier this morning for a press conference with Governor Peter Shumlin where Bo will announce that he has won trademark protection for 'Eat More Kale'. We'll send another post in a day or two with pictures and video from the press conference, but in the meantime we wanted to share with you the AP NewsBreak this morning. You can check out the link here. 

Vermont Statehouse where Governor Peter Shumlin will hold press conference with Bo Muller-Moore to announce USPTO decision on 'Eat More Kale'
Vermont Statehouse where Governor Peter Shumlin will hold press conference with Bo Muller-Moore to announce USPTO decision on 'Eat More Kale'

And here's the AP NewsBreak in full: 

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A folk artist who became a folk hero to some after picking a fight with fast-food giant Chik-fil-A over use of the phrase "eat more kale" — similar to their trademarked "eat mor chikin" — has won his legal battle.

Bo Muller-Moore said Thursday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted his application to trademark "eat more kale," a phrase he says promotes local agriculture. He silk-screens the phrase on T-shirts and sweatshirts and prints them on bumper stickers that are common in Vermont and beyond.

When asked what he felt caused the trademark office to approve his application, Muller-Moore, of Montpelier, said, "Your guess is as good as mine." The news was posted on the office's website Tuesday.

"I'd like to think that maybe some persistence and polite defiance, you know, and proving to them that we were in it for the long haul," he said. "If it took us a decade, we're going to fight for a decade."

Muller-Moore is planning a formal announcement of his victory Friday with Gov. Peter Shumlin and other supporters on the Statehouse steps.

"The message is out: Don't mess with Vermont. And don't mess with Bo," Shumlin said Thursday in a statement. "This isn't just a win for the little guy who stands up to a corporate bully; it's a win for our state. In Vermont, we care about what's in our food, who grows it, and where it comes from."

"Cows love kale, too," said Carrie Kurlander, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Chik-fil-A.

Muller-Moore started using the phrase in 2000 after a farmer friend who grows the leafy vegetable that is known for its nutritional value asked him to make three T-shirts for his family for $10 each.

The phrase caught on and, with the approval of the farmer, Muller-Moore began putting it on clothing and bumper stickers.

In the summer of 2011, Muller-Moore sought to trademark the phrase. It was a short time later that Chik-fil-A sent Muller-Moore a letter telling him to stop using the phrase because the company felt it could be confused with "eat mor chikin." In the letter, Chik-fil-A cited 30 examples of others who had tried to use the "eat more" phrase and withdrew it after the company objected.

But Muller-Moore refused.

"In our case, we said we're not going to cease and desist until a federal judge tells us to and as far as the trademark goes, I never wavered from the idea that I deserved protection from copycat artists," Muller-Moore said.

His public fight drew the support of Shumlin and a team of pro-bono lawyers, including law students from the University of New Hampshire legal clinic.

News from Bo coming soon! + Our interview in France + Many thanks!

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Will Chick-fil-A Oppose Bo by November 14th? + We Go to the National Trademark Expo + Fun With 5-hour Energy

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Howdy Backers of A Defiant Dude!

A quick update to let you know that we're about half-way through the USPTO's 30 day publication for opposition period for Bo's 'Eat More Kale' trademark -- by November 14th, we'll know for certain if Bo has prevailed over Chick-fil-A's ex parte letter of protest against 'Eat More Kale' -- or, if Chick-fil-A or some other business will file a legal notice of opposition against a potential 'Eat More Kale' trademark.

FOR THOSE FOLKS KEEPING SCORE, NOVEMBER 14TH IS AN IMPORTANT DATE:

A little more than a month ago the USPTO finally allowed Bo's 'Eat More Kale' trademark application to advance to the next legal level for trademark protection, or 'Publication for Opposition' -- which, in layman's terms, is similar to the part in a wedding ceremony where the minister says, "Does anybody know why these two should not be married?" By allowing Bo's 'Eat More Kale' trademark application to be published for opposition, the USPTO is essentially saying, "We're thinking of granting Bo trademark right in the phrase, 'Eat More Kale' -- does anybody feel that they might be damaged if we do this?"

Nearly three years ago, Chick-fil-A told Bo to 'cease and forever desist' printing 'Eat More Kale' t-shirts, and filed a secret letter of protest with the USPTO essentially saying, 'Yes, we feel that we will be damaged by an 'Eat More Kale' trademark as it will cause consumer confusion over our own 'Eat Mor Chikin' trademark.'

So Chick-fil-A, or any other party who feels they may be damaged by a potential 'Eat More Kale' trademark, have until November 14th to file a letter of opposition with the government (or an extension of the opposition period). At that time, we should know if the story we've been covering has finally come to an end and Bo has acquired his trademark free of opposition from Chick-fil-A -- or if another chapter is about to begin.

THE NATIONAL TRADEMARK EXPO:

While we wait for, what we hope will be, the last chapter in our documentary -- a couple of weeks ago we took our camera to Washington DC and filmed the National Trademark Expo.

The National Trademark Expo has significance to our documentary because this is one of the ways the USPTO educates the public -- and, more specifically, children -- about trademarks.

But more germane to Bo's story, Mr. Andrew Lawrence, who is the reviewing attorney for Bo's 'Eat More Kale' trademark application at the USPTO, is one of two contacts for the National Trademark Expo; on the day we attended he appeared to be one of the main USPTO officials in charge of the expo.

The expo is focused mainly on educating children about trademarks: trading cards, coloring books and roving mascots filled the main atrium and lawn of USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria.

We'll leave you with some shots from our footage of the expo, below. Until next time, THANK YOU! for your support and patience with the production of our film -- even though our story is taking much longer to unfold than we could've imagined, it continues to grow deeper and get curiouser and curiouser.

The National Trademark Expo was held at the USPTO's headquarters in October in Alexandria, VA.
The National Trademark Expo was held at the USPTO's headquarters in October in Alexandria, VA.
The 5-hour Energy mascot was especially popular with children.
The 5-hour Energy mascot was especially popular with children.
Banners placed throughout the expo queried attendees on their brand knowledge like this one for Mickey Mouse.
Banners placed throughout the expo queried attendees on their brand knowledge like this one for Mickey Mouse.
The expo was geared mostly toward children. Workshops for children were held hourly.
The expo was geared mostly toward children. Workshops for children were held hourly.
Many national brands were displayed at the expo including Amazon and this banner asking attendees to "look closely."
Many national brands were displayed at the expo including Amazon and this banner asking attendees to "look closely."
The American Bar Association featured a trademark guessing game "for kids."
The American Bar Association featured a trademark guessing game "for kids."
More games at the ABA's booth at the National Trademark Expo.
More games at the ABA's booth at the National Trademark Expo.
Banners, balloons and candy were a big part of the expo.
Banners, balloons and candy were a big part of the expo.
Mascots roamed throughout the expo.
Mascots roamed throughout the expo.
Most exhibitors featured activities geared toward children.
Most exhibitors featured activities geared toward children.
Children could sit in a race car, a UPS truck and this thing at the Caterpillar exhibit.
Children could sit in a race car, a UPS truck and this thing at the Caterpillar exhibit.
The 5-hour Energy mascot in the act of photobombing the Froot of the Loom guys.
The 5-hour Energy mascot in the act of photobombing the Froot of the Loom guys.
In their exhibit, Lego showed how their logo has changed over time.
In their exhibit, Lego showed how their logo has changed over time.
More mascots.
More mascots.
The USPTO has created and trademarked its own mascot called T. Markey which one child was overheard saying that "it looked like a giant pill."
The USPTO has created and trademarked its own mascot called T. Markey which one child was overheard saying that "it looked like a giant pill."
This mascot went around the expo hiding, then seemed irritated that nobody was paying attention to him.
This mascot went around the expo hiding, then seemed irritated that nobody was paying attention to him.


The 5-hour Energy mascot was everywhere.
The 5-hour Energy mascot was everywhere.
This family could not stop giggling at the 5-hour Energy mascot.
This family could not stop giggling at the 5-hour Energy mascot.
The 'Frog' in Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt stands for "Fully Rely On God" according to the company's website.
The 'Frog' in Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt stands for "Fully Rely On God" according to the company's website.
With a seemingly unlimited amount of energy, the 5-hour Energy mascot outdid all the other mascots at the National Trademark Expo.
With a seemingly unlimited amount of energy, the 5-hour Energy mascot outdid all the other mascots at the National Trademark Expo.

 **

That's all for now! Jim, Bo and the crew of 'A Defiant Dude'!

Big News: Bo's Trademark Application Finally Advances at USPTO + Truett Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dies at 93

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