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Cease And Desist

By: Laura Heymann

“A folk artist expanding his home business built around the words ‘eat more kale’ says he’s ready to fight root-to-feather to protect his phrase from what he sees as an assault by Chick-fil-A, which holds the trademark to the phrase ‘eat mor chikin.'” (AP)

Dear Ms. Williams:

We represent your neighbor, Elizabeth Johnson, with respect to intellectual property matters. Over the past four years, Ms. Johnson has established herself in the Parkville community as the standard bearer in the field of parenting. I refer you to this past Halloween’s “Royal Wedding Extravaganza” at the Johnson home, for which Ms. Johnson hand sewed each of the 58 fabric-covered buttons on four-year-old Francesca Johnson’s Kate Middleton costume. (If it had not been for a slight disagreement resulting in a “time out,” Francesca’s sister, Clementine, would have admirably acquitted her role as Pippa.) Ms. Johnson’s achievements have received considerable notice, not least of which are the numerous anonymous postings on the Parkville Parents online message board suggesting that she should “dial it back a bit.”

Ms. Johnson could not have reached the pinnacle of success without closely monitoring the efforts of her competitors. It has come to our attention that you have recently started using the phrase “Eat your damn broccoli” on a consistent basis in connection with the provision of evening meals to the Williams children. This phrase violates Ms. Johnson’s intellectual property rights in her trademarked phrase “Eat your frisee salad, ma petite” (the “EAT YOUR FRISEE SALAD intellectual property”). The EAT YOUR FRISEE SALAD intellectual property is strongly associated with Ms. Johnson and her parenting skills, starting from at least the date of the Parkville Little Scholars Year-End Awards Ceremony and Vegan Repast, for which Ms. Johnson served as honorary chairwoman. Indeed, this association is so strong that just the mention of the phrase to other Parkville Little Scholars parents elicits a visceral emotional reaction — precisely what the best brands do.

While your phrase “Eat your damn broccoli” is not identical to Ms. Johnson’s EAT YOUR FRISEE SALAD intellectual property, it is similar enough that it is likely to deceive those who hear it into thinking that Ms. Johnson has approved of your parenting efforts and has therefore licensed the EAT YOUR FRISEE SALAD intellectual property for your personal use. As you know, nothing could be further from the truth. Our client has never even been invited to your home, let alone been provided the opportunity to offer advice on child rearing techniques, such as whether it is appropriate to use common epithets in front of small children declining to eat what are undoubtedly non-organic vegetables.

In determining your response to this letter, you should be aware that we have contacted numerous other Parkville parents who have engaged in similar uses of the EAT YOUR FRISEE SALAD intellectual property, including “Eat two more nuggets and you can have dessert;” “You’re not getting down from that table until you eat those potatoes;” and “You’re going to eat that meal I just spent two hours cooking, so help me God.” While we are still in negotiations, we note that two of these parents have already issued disclaimers to the Parkville community stating that they regret any perceived relationship to our client and will henceforth cease any further association.

Accordingly, our client hereby demands that you immediately cease and desist from the use of “Eat your damn broccoli” and any confusingly similar phrases; engage in corrective measures to dispel any belief that Ms. Johnson approves of your parenting efforts; and return the Dutch oven that you borrowed from our client in connection with the Parkville Little Scholars Tempeh Chili Cook-Off and Air Sitar Competition. Ms. Johnson’s intellectual property rights — and her Dutch oven — are unquestionably valuable assets, and we reserve the right to pursue all available remedies on her behalf if we are unable to reach a suitable agreement.

Very truly yours,

Oliver Martino
Martino, Briggs, and Taylor, LLP