Don't Say "Family Feast"

  laurie53 11:52 30 Apr 2009

KFC are threatening to sue a small pizzeria in Carnoustie for using the term Family Feast which they have copyrighted (though not until after the family firm started using it in '92).

click here

Now come on, do KFC really think this shop is trying to pass itself off, or confuse genuine KFC customers, especially when KFC do not even have an outlet in the town?

And can you copyright a generally used expression like "family feast"?

  Quickbeam 12:21 30 Apr 2009

"And can you copyright a generally used expression like "family feast"?"
I don't know, but common sense should tell you that trying to claim common usage terms will cause problems sooner or later.

Common sense says they should have copyrighted the the term 'KFC Family feast', but not 'family feast', that is what we all have at Christmas.

Maybe they have a cunning plan to have us all buy a 'Bargain Bucket Family Feast' for Christmas as they intend to frighten us all out of using that term for fear of being sued.

  BT 17:22 30 Apr 2009

Firstly you can't 'Copyright' anything. Copyright is automatic and is invested in the 'author' of the document, picture, photograph, etc. from the moment it is created.
KFC can only, as I see it, claim it as a registered trademark always assuming that they have registered it, and if fourm member's link is anything to go by, they have waived their claim in the past, so I personally don't think they have a (chicken)leg to stand on so to speak!

  Forum Editor 17:24 30 Apr 2009

KFC will not hold a copyright on the words. I imagine that KFC has registered 'Family feast' as a trademark, which is a different thing altogether.

Copyright applies to original works such as dramatic works, literary works, films, music, etc., etc.

Trademark infringement can be a serious matter if the infringer's intention is to mislead people into thinking that item B is in fact item A when item A's title or description is a registered trademark. It would be an infringement of trademark, for instance, if I started marketing my own spreadsheet software as 'Excel' because 'Excel' when applied to that kind of software is a registered trademark of Microsoft.

Copyright is what exists automatically when I write an article for the magazine, and unless I have previously agreed otherwise the copyright belongs to me, the person who created the original work. When you write a letter to someone you automatically have copyright over the content, the person who receives the letter does not. Similarly, when a photographer takes photos at your wedding he/she owns the copyright on them, unless you have previously agreed otherwise. You don't have the right to the original negatives or files, the photographer does.

Successful companies value their trademarks very highly, and they can often be extremely touchy about infringement. Some trademarks become household words - 'Hoover' is a classic example - and woe betide anyone who tries to infringe the trademark. Try marketing your own search engine and calling it Google if you want to find out what a ton of bricks feels like.

  Forum Editor 17:25 30 Apr 2009

Corrections in stereo! You beat me to it.

  BT 17:39 30 Apr 2009

'Less is More' ? :o)

Following on from your 'Hoover' point, the manufacturers if 'Biro' ball point pens were very hot on anyone who used 'Biro' as a generic term for a ball point pen, and although many people did and still do, they would chase up anyone who used it in print or even on TV with threats of legal action, but this seems to have declined in recent years.

BTW - My Dad got hold of a Biro refill just after WW2 when they were very rare and expensive and adapted an old fountain pen barrel to enable him to be able use it.

  laurie53 19:28 30 Apr 2009

Thank you for the corrections, though I was already aware of the difference between trademark and copyright, which is why I mentioned passing off.

I was simply quoting from the original report.

  jack 19:57 30 Apr 2009

To justfy their [fat no doubt] fees - when there is not much 'business' about- they are trying to 'take on' a small guy as opposed to Forum Members links- that fight would be interesting.
BTW how did KFC's legal eagles get onto a place like Carnoustie?
Hardly a metropolis is it?
Is the Pizza place on the internet perhaps?

  zzzz999 05:56 01 May 2009

smashing, I think I will copyright 'at the end of the day'. Everytime some numpty stands in front of a TV camera and says 'At the end of the day' (c)Rickscafe I get a farthing

  laurie53 19:17 21 May 2009

Update - KFC have now decided to take the matter no further.

click here

One wonders how much the Titanic Pizza Co. would have had to pay for all this advertising in the normal course of events!

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