The landlady of a small English pub on the Pennine Way has won her battle with the fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken, over her “Family Feast” traditional Christmas Day menu. The battle was joined when KFC’s lawyers at Freshfields, the leading City firm, wrote to Tracy Daly, licensee of the Tan Hill Inn, in North Yorkshire, accusing her of infringing its trademark.
Ms Daly had assumed that the letter, from one Giles Pratt, was an elaborate practical joke.
Her pub was miles from the nearest high street, and the Family Feast she served but once a year. It consisted of a traditional Christmas dinner. There was little chance, she reasoned, that it could be confused with KFC’s Family Feast, a bucket of fried chicken and chips, coleslaw, potato and gravy, with a fizzy drink?
She was wrong.
When she called Freshfields she was told that the matter was extremely serious. A spokesperson for KFC explained that Family Feast was a registered trademark to which it devoted significant resources for promotion and protection. However, the company’s professed intent to tackle the threat posed by the Christmas menu of a tiny country pub caused uproar. Firms of solicitors offered Ms Daly their services free, and commentators on Times Online weighed in behind Ms Daly as she prepared to fight her corner.
“A faceless corporation with no heart and no values . . . trying to bully hard-working pub owners over ownership of a common English phrase” wrote one Times reader.
Ms Daly suggested that the chief executive of KFC ought to make the rather long journey to her pub to experience her “Family Feast” for himself. In return she would agree to eat a KFC Family Feast.
Faced with this, and the public outcry, yesterday afternoon KFC backed down. It issued a statement: “KFC has spoken to Ms Daly . . . and confirmed that it will not take this case any further. This means Ms Daly can continue to use the phrase Family Feast on the pub’s Christmas menu. It’s an unusual situation that has been blown out of all proportion.”
Ms Daly said: “Common sense has prevailed. I’m not going to need my boxing gloves. I’ve invited KFC to come here and have a meal and shake hands.”
Story by Will Pavia for The Times, UK, May 11 2007
1990 McDonald’s served a writ against an English couple who handed out leaflets outside their restaurants, urging people not to eat there. The ‘McLibel’ battle became the longest in English legal history, ending with victory for the couple as the case went to Europe
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