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"Trademark bully": Momofuku turns up heat on others selling "chili crunch"


liuzhou

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

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Hmmm... the original Lao Gan Ma product is "chili crisp", and Chang is laying claim to "Chili Crunch? He's got the dough to make a go at it... but I'd not bet he's winner if somebody with equal dough fights back.  How deep are LGM's pockets?

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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Overreach. Let the best of these small businesses succeed or not on their own merits rather than going after them for the use of a descriptive term. 
Trader Joe's might be fair game but they use CRUNCHY on their similar products, not crunch.
 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, cdh said:

Hmmm... the original Lao Gan Ma product is "chili crisp"

 

Not really. The main, but not only, original descriptive name is 香辣脆 (xiāng là cuì), which translates as 'flavour hot crisp or crunch or brittle'. This doesn't however feature on the jars in China. For the US, the company translated this as 'crisp' as a description, but it isnt their trademark;  just a description. Their trademark is the name of the company, 老干妈 (lǎo gān mā*) with the distinctive script and the picture of Ms. Tao.

 

I very much doubt she cares; although her lawyers may. She makes and sells 1.3 million jars a day, most of  which are sold in China. Her pockets are very deep.

 

* literally 'old godmother' or 'old adoptive mother'

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

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Given that linguistic perspective, I'd say Chang is in even worse shape... the doctrine of foreign equivalents would make his Chili Crunch choice a literal copy of the generic descriptive.  That's bad for building trademark rights.

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Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

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14 hours ago, blue_dolphin said:

Overreach. Let the best of these small businesses succeed or not on their own merits rather than going after them for the use of a descriptive term. 
Trader Joe's might be fair game but they use CRUNCHY on their similar products, not crunch.
 

They are next.

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40 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Looks like Heinz is involved.

 

Siegner, Cathy (April 19, 2018). "Kraft Heinz partners with Momofuku to take chili sauce nationwide". Retail Dive.

 

 

 

I dunno if this is relevant news. That article is almost five years old; I saw those sauces months ago at grocery chain stores.

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Dave Scantland
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2 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

I dunno if this is relevant news. That article is almost five years old; I saw those sauces months ago at grocery chain stores.

 

The relationship is there whether new or old.

Kraft/Heinz is a mega company with lots of bored trademark lawyers.  Nothing like a little litigation to make you feel alive!

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True. But if Heinz was involved, the Guardian piece probably wouldn't have included:

Quote

“If Kraft Heinz hit me up [with a cease-and-desist] it would have been so distressing,” says Tew, “but the fact that it was Momofuku makes me feel really, really sad.”

 

Later in the article, we read:

Quote

Momofuku Goods, the consumer goods arm of Momofuku, has the resources for a trademark campaign, which can be expensive. It raised $17.5m in a Series A funding round led by Siddhi Capital in March 2023 and an $11.5m funding round led by Alliance Consumer Growth in September of the same year. 

 

Heinz (including "lots of bored trademark lawyers" and most likely substantial financial means) is not mentioned as part of Momofuku's resources.

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Dave Scantland
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Momofuku Says It Will No Longer Enforce ‘Chile Crunch’ Trademark

 

On April 12, Chang released an episode of his podcast The Dave Chang Show apologizing and responding to the chile crunch debacle — by announcing that Momofuku will no longer enforce the trademark

 

https://www.eater.com/24128813/dave-chang-momofuku-trademark-enforcement-chile-crunch-debacle-response-explained

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Posted (edited)

He's certainly no linguist..

 

Quote

“Had I known, or Momofuku known, that ‘chile crunch’ was a tautology — basically the same as ‘chile crisp’ — we would never have named it ‘chile crunch.’”

 

 

 

'Chili crunch' is NOT a tautology in any way. He clearly doesn't know what a tautology is. 'Chili crunch'and 'chili crisp' are synonyms. As I mentioned earlier, the Chinese can be translated either way.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

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21 hours ago, liuzhou said:

He's certainly no linguist..

 

 

 

 

'Chili crunch' is NOT a tautology in any way. He clearly doesn't know what a tautology is. 'Chili crunch'and 'chili crisp' are synonyms. As I mentioned earlier, the Chinese can be translated either way.

 

Someone who knows the difference between a tautology and a synonym is not, simply by that distinction, a linguist, either.

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Dave Scantland
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3 hours ago, Dave the Cook said:

 

Someone who knows the difference between a tautology and a synonym is not, simply by that distinction, a linguist, either.

 

Metonymy.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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