WAITING ON THE USPTO
January 5, 2014
It was 14 degrees below zero here in Vermont a couple of days ago, so we moved our hard drives and editing equipment from our office in a renovated barn to a more stable climate to protect the film's footage against the possibility of a power outage; our office is heated and well-protected, but with over 200 hours and $120,000 worth of footage -- and the temperatures dropping to dangerous lows, we can't be too cautious. Meanwhile, we sent 30 minutes of edited footage to our 2000 Kickstarter backers where we got lots of great feedback and helpful tips (one backer saw the footage and called Bo "a true American hero!"). We also sent the edited footage to our friends at SevenDays where they did an update on our film that you can read here: http://www.7dvt.com/2013short-takes-film-hunt-defiant-dude-update
Meanwhile, Bo's trademark case is still pending at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Bo's attorneys filed their response to the Trademark office's rejection on September 17th of last year -- hopefully, Bo and his legal team will hear something soon.
BO'S LAWYERS FILE THEIR RESPONSE, AND OTHER NEWS
September 23, 2013
Fall is in the air here in Vermont and our film production crew is making plans to head to New Hampshire to film an interview with the leader of Bo's legal team; we also plan on filming a speech that Bo is preparing to make at an anti-GMO rally in Montpelier, VT, and we continue following up on a couple of other trademark bullying cases that we filmed in the previous 12 months (several of those cases have made their way to court, or have been settled). Meanwhile, Bo's attorneys have filed their official response to his rejection at the USPTO, and Bo gave an excellent commencement speech at Goddard Collage this summer that we were honored to film. We also spent a some time this summer with Eugene Jarecki and the team behind the award-winning documentary film, 'The House I Live In' --- Eugene and his team had some great advice for us and we're grateful for their help.
That's all for now --- we'll be sure to keep you posted as soon as the USPTO rules on Bo's case when, hopefully, we'll have a happy ending to our film!
WHEN WILL OUR FILM BE DONE, AND THEN SOME
July 18, 2013
It's a long hot summer here in Vermont but work on our film continues -- we've been busy editing, filming and connecting with other documentary filmmakers who are helping us with our film. Not a day goes by that our film isn't edited, shot or moved forward in some capacity.
PRODUCTION: Since our last update we've produced several shoots including filming at David Miskell's farm in Charlotte, VT -- David donates 5% of his kale sales to Bo's legal fund. We've also filmed a long interview with Bo where he had much to say about the status of his case, lawyers, t-shirts and the stresses of being David to Chick-fil-A's Goliath. We also filmed an evening at home with supporters Ariel and Crystal Zevon and their family in Barre, VT where they treated our film crew to some awesome kale inspired food (thank you Ariel and Crystal!) some good words on what's happening to Bo, and activism in general.
POST PRODUCTION: Some of our research has been finding some extraordinary trademark infringement cases from around the country that have bearing on Bo's case, and we've been spending time following up on leads and weaving those stories into our film. We've also been doing lots of editing -- with over 200 hours of footage and counting, culling down and crafting a story from our filming is an exhilarating job.
BO'S CASE: Bo is soldiering on and continuing to print Eat More Kale t-shirts -- however, as is the case for many small businesses and artists who are attacked by a large corporations over allegations of trademark infringement, the drawn out process has been taxing for Bo. However, that hasn't dampened his spirit to keep printing Eat More Kale t-shirts. As he said in his last interview: "I think every single time I print another Eat More Kale shirt and send it to another corner of the U.S. for someone to wear, that's an act of defiance. Chick-fil-A said don't do it, and I said _____you!"
WHEN WILL OUR FILM BE DONE? While we had hoped to be finished with our film by now, we're still very much in the middle of production. While our film has a great beginning and middle, it has no ending -- and to be quite honest, an ending is not in immediate sight. We're resolved to follow Bo, Chick-fil-A, and this story until there's some sort of resolution for him and his Eat More Kale design. And this is becoming part of our story, too -- that one of the great problems small businesses face when fighting a multi-billion dollar corporation is a war of attrition.
BO SUFFERS A LEGAL SETBACK
May 18, 2013
Some sad news here as, last week, Bo finally heard from the USPTO (the United States Patent and Trademark Office) on his trademark case and the government has preliminarily ruled against Bo and in favor of Chick-fil-A's letter of protest, saying that 'Eat More Kale' is likely to cause confusion with Chick-fil-A's 'Eat Mor Chickin' slogan. The decision from the USPTO isn't final as it gives Bo and his lawyer yet one more chance to file additional arguments in support of their case, but it is heartbreaking to read the reviewing attorney's opinion wherein he argues (in essence, for Chick-fil-A) that, in fact, kale and chicken are similar food products.
After learning the news, Bo also posted the following on his Facebook page:
"Andrew Lawrence is the Senior Reviewing Attorney at the USPTO. You and I pay his salary to protect Consumers from Confusion. (Like when Copy Cat artist sell my exact design on t-shirts online). Is he protecting Consumers or the marketing department of Chick-fil-A? He states that I can't even register for a Trademark even though I've NOT CONFUSED A SINGLE CHICK-FIL-A CUSTOMER. He states that I MAY confuse someone in the FUTURE. He can be contacted for feedback. Andrew.Lawrence@uspto.gov. (571) 272-9342. I called him and ask him to allow me to proceed with the right to register my trademark. I was Polite. I hope you'll be polite as well. Is he fighting for consumers or billionaires? How many folks can we get to call or write?"
THE SLOW WHEELS OF GOVERNMENT
March 13, 2013
I wish we could bring you more news about Bo's case advancing through the halls of government, but those wheels move slowly and unfortunately nothing has changed on the legal status of Eat More Kale for about six months now. We've been reporting for months that Bo and his lawyer filed with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) a response to their rejection of his trademark case --- the reviewing attorney at the USPTO ruled that Eat More Kale was, in fact, likely to cause confusion with Chick-fil-A's Eat Mor Chikin slogan and therefore they rejected Bo's appeal. This appears to be a rejection based, in part, on Chick-fil-A's 'ex parte' letter of protest that they filed with the USPTO. As of today, nearly six months have passed since Bo's lawyer filed their response and the USPTO has yet to file their 'official' ruling. Once they make that ruling, Bo will either be allowed to proceed with his trademark application (at which time he'll have to face Chick-fil-A's opposition) or he'll have to proceed to an appeals board at the USPTO.
Meanwhile, our film production moves on. We're beginning to do some editing now, culling down the 200 or so hours of film footage that we've amassed over the last twelve months, shot in twelve different states across the country -- and our footage is proving to be quite powerful! We're honored to have interviewed scores of experts and scholars from places like Stanford, American University and Notre Dame, as well as other small business folks fighting similar trademark battles; folks like Robert Linden in Minnesota who owns a company called THERMAL-WISE INSULATION and his trademark battle with QUESTAR, Scott Smith and his infringement fight with ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE, and Amy Brooks, a leukemia survivor who developed a soap for the sensitive skin of cancer patients called, BUBBLES BY BROOKS who is being challenged in court by the men's shirt company, BROOKS BROTHERS. While we're super excited about the interviews and footage we've collected so far, but we've still got a ways to go before we finish. In the meantime, we'll be sure to keep you posted!
ACADEMY AWARD WIN TO PRODUCER, JEFF CONSIGLIO
February 24, 2013
One of the producers of our film, Jeff Consiglio, won an Academy Award in this year's Oscar race for a short documentary film that he edited. Jeff edited the documentary short film INOCENTE which you can see a trailer for at his website. This is Jeff's second edited film that has been nominated for an Academy Award (the first was WARDANCE) and the first that he has won. Jeff is on a roll recently, another film he recently edited for HBO just competed at Sundance. Good luck at the Oscars, Jeff!
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
December 12, 2012
The film production crew of A DEFIANT DUDE is heading on the road again, this time to Baltimore and Northern Virginia to interview more small business folks defending themselves from charges of trademark infringement. We just returned from Massachusetts and New York City and an interview with author and journalist Barry C. Lynn who had this say about our subject:
"The stakes here are about as high as they can get. Some of these fights might seem silly or small --- such as a fight over who has the right to use the phrase 'eat more' --- but they're not. It's part of a larger pattern that if we don't reverse that pattern, we're in deep trouble."
Barry C. Lynn, Journalist and Writer
Senior Fellow, New America Foundation
In an interview for 'A Defiant Dude'
'A DEFIANT DUDE' PITCHES AT CAMDEN INT'L FILM FEST
October 12, 2012
A DEFIANT DUDE was honored to be selected to present a 'pitch' at the Points North Documentary Film Forum at the Camden International Film Festival in Camden, Maine. The film was one of only eight documentaries in production selected to show a trailer and 'pitch' to an audience of 200 and, simultaneously, to a pretty auspicious panel of twelve broadcasters, distributors and funders that included PBS, The Tribeca Film Festival, The LEF Foundation, Cinereach, The Discovery Channel and NetFlix, to name a few (who, after the pitch, spent ten minutes offering producer James Lantz feedback on the film).
A pitch is standard in the film industry as a presentation of the idea, story and selected production elements that a producer presents to film industry representatives, prior to the completion of a film.
A DEFIANT DUDE is in production with an expected completion in 2014.
PRODUCTION TEAM HEADS TO OHIO, MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN AND INDIANA
August 15, 2012
The production team of A DEFIANT DUDE spent a couple of weeks in the midwest recently interviewing scholars at Notre Dame and William Mitchell College of Law in Minneapolis, along with a handful of small business owners being sued for
trademark infringement. Miles covered: 1500. Additional hours of shot footage: 17. Locations: a pool hall, a house under construction, a street fair, a consignment store and the Minnesota State House. Pictured: Mark McKenna, a professor of Law at Notre Dame.
FILMING FOURTH OF JULY PARADE, MONTPELIER, VERMONT
July 5, 2012
Bo and supporter Ariel Zevon entered an 'Eat More Kale' float in the Fourth of July Parade in Montpelier, VT, and the production crew of 'A DEFIANT DUDE' was there to film it. Bo's float included about 40 supporters, a live band, a person dressed as a piece of kale, a farmer, a cow and at least one rubber chicken.