Food For Thought Needs Your Help!

fft-logo

Food for Thought VERSUS  Huffington Post and Chipotle

  Chipotle_260x60_Logo

Dear Food For Thought Friends:

We need your help!

A large corporate entity is infringing on our trademark. It does not make it easier that they are an entity I respect, and it is for a good cause. It is infringement just the same. The Huffington Post and Chipotle restaurants have joined together to launch a blog called Food For Thought.  They have ignored our trademark and the facts that we have a blog, FaceBook page, and more under this name.  I obviously cannot afford to mount a legal challenge against such deep corporate pockets, so I am appealing to you to help me appeal to them. Please post on their blog that, while you support their effort to raise awareness around just and sustainable food (our mission), you do not appreciate them using our name and likeness. Can you please post on their blog here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/food-for-thought_b_4127786.html, and because they may not publish your critical blog post, you can email Arianna Huffington directly: arianna@huffingtonpost.com

 

For reference, here is what I posted on their blog this morning:

 

Dear Arianna and Mark:

I am an avid Huffington Post reader, Chipotle fan, and work daily to champion the dialogue about just and sustainable food practices through my own food production company. My company’s name, Food For Thought, was trademarked when I began 18 years ago with a mission to “Create and raise awareness around just and sustainable food.” In pursuit of that mission, I have a web site, blog, YouTube page, FaceBook page and newsletter under the Food For Thought name.

While I’m just a little organic jam maker in the woods of northern Michigan, I do have a global reach through my international Fair Trade and food justice work. (onthegroundglobal.org).  Regardless of my size, it is hard to imagine that you were not made aware of my presence. Is this a case of Goliath’s corporate attorneys saying, “This guy is too small to mount a challenge; if he does, we’ll squash him?” Do you really want to WalMart this small organic farmer?

You are certainly creative enough and have the resources to come up with something that does not infringe on the life work of someone else. I truly hope this was a misunderstanding and that you will have your creative team come up with another name for your new venture.

 

Timothy Fitzgerald Young

Founder/CEO Food For Thought

 

 

55 Responses to “Food For Thought Needs Your Help!”

  1. Jim Olson October 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Dear Arianna,

    I am an admirer of the Huffington Post and what you stand for. I find it inconceivable that the Huffington Post would interfere with the brand and trademark of a local foods pioneer like Food for Thought, near Traverse City, Michigan. Tim Young, and team, have made incredible contributions to not only the viability of local foods, but the nutrition, and social entrepreneurship that goes with it. This is what the country needs more of, as I’m sure you are aware, and it is important not to jeopardize Food for Thought’s brand, trademark, and good work for the larger community.

    Now, Huffington Post, with Chipotle, has launched a “Food for Thought” blog, using Food for Thought’s name and trademark. I don’t know how or why this happened. I assume it’s an oversight, and that it will be corrected. Despite the good reasons, the use of another socially responsible pioneering businesses name is not in keeping with the standards of Huffington Post, and what you have accomplished.

    Please consider immediate phone call and letter to Tim Young, Pres., Food for Thought, assuring him that you will be changing the name of the blog, apologize, and that you welcome his participation. Like many of us in Michigan, Tim is a fan of Huffington Post, and we want it to stay that way.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely yours,

    James Olson

    J.D., LL. M.

    Environmental Lawyer

    • Eric Nikolitch October 23, 2013 at 5:47 am #

      I just feel that if any entity, one person or one million people, are aware of another entity’s trademark; it is only ethical to come up with ones own trademark. Just do the right thing corps!

  2. Jim Penn October 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Dear Arianna,

    I enjoy the HP and enjoyed this article but please note that a very well known and excellent company called Food for Thought already exists in northern Michigan. Food for Thought, Inc. supports local farmers, organic produce production and does charity work for farmers in several countries. Check out their excellent web page at foodforthought.net

    Please contact them about using their name here – we all need to work together!

    James Penn
    Grand Rapids, Michigan

  3. Kyra Poehlman October 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Emailed!

  4. Gabby October 22, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    Emailed!

  5. sarah October 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    i emailed arianna today, and when i get home i will post a comment on their page. because facebook is blocked here at my office, i cannot post it (although i tried by linking thru twitter, linkedin, google+, it all defaults back to facebook).
    In Northern Michigan, there is an impressive pocket of food entrepreneurs/pioneers working to change the morality of the industry by producing sustainable and thoughtful foods. One of these people is Timothy Fitgerald Young. 18 years ago he began Food For Thought, and organic and fair trade food company that has invested it’s energy AND it’s name into bettering the planet through healthy eating and conscientious product production.
    Their website states, “When you give a gift of Food For Thought products you can be assured that we have done our best to bring you gifts that make a difference in the quality of life on this planet. We strive to be a model of corporate responsibility that is expressed, in part, through our unwavering commitment to organic foods. We know that such a commitment has a direct and positive impact on the quality of land and water, and that’s just the beginning.”
    They are social activists in their business, their community, and globally.
    In honor of their grass roots work, and because of the high level of integrity at the HuffPost, I think it is fair to suggest renaming your blog.

  6. Timothy Young October 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Dear Arianna Huffington:

    I read Huffington Post daily and my family eats at Chipotle but you need to know that there is already a company in NW Michigan that has trademarked the Food For Thought name for many years. I know this this because I buy their fabulous organic, fair trade products by mail, read their blog, Facebook page and newsletter, all with their Food For Thought logo emblazoned on it. Surely your research and development people would’ve come across this established, trademarked company when brainstorming a name for your idea? I support your noble goals to educate about food but copyright infringement is simply illegal. I hope you will do the right thing and re-name your blog.

    Sincerely,
    Berry Kendall
    Atlanta, GA

  7. Travis Hilton October 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    I posted a link to this page on Reddit with the title “Are HuffPost and Chipotle infringing on trademark?” (trying to follow their rules for link titles) Hopefully it will get voted up so more people will hear about this.

  8. Marin October 22, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    HP is not showing negative comments on their blog. How sad is that? I emailed Arianna and hopefully she make an effort to make this right somehow, or at the very least, give you a ton of free publicity! That would only seem fair to me! Good luck!!

  9. Becky Thatcher October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi, Re food for thought–

    This sounds like a great thing— but in Michigan, Food For Thought is an established business that has been going good things with food, and for our community for over 18 years. This business name is trademarked, so I am surprised you would use the same name. Please respect this person and his life’s business, and protect his “little lamb”. While inconvenient, I trust you will do the right thing, and not use his name. Your regular reader.

  10. Timothy Young October 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    Arianna:

    I am a professor of business in the city that Timothy Young’s compnay Food for Thought exists. I understand what you are doing is for an awesome cuase, but Timothy Young already owns this domain. It appears a bit “bullyish” to assume becuase you are big and he is small that his rights to this trademark are not important or will not be upheld legally. I respect the work Timothy and Food for Thought does not only for our community but for the global village as well. I am going to hope this is an oversight and will be resloved soon.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.
    Best,
    Kristy


    Kristy Berak McDonald
    Northwestern Michigan College
    Business Academic Area
    Professor and Internship Coordinator

  11. Timothy Young October 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Dear Arianna and Mark,
    I am a fan of the Huffington Post and Chipotle. I was, however, greatly dismayed to see you launch your new blog under the name “Food For Thought.” I, and many of my friends who are also avid readers and fans, are residents (both summer and year-round) of northern Michigan and Food For Thought is the name of a beloved company who trademarked it 18 years ago. The company has a website, blog, YouTube page, FaceBook page and newsletter, all under that Food For Thought name.
    It is synonymous with local farm to table and sustainable food and efforts to create and raise awareness of such. Tim Young, the company founder, hosts a very popular Green Cuisine open party at his farm every summer to promote the products of local farms and small businesses. He lectures and does extensive charitable work in this area.
    Please do not infringe on his trademark and his life work. While I applaud your cause and your efforts to spread the good message, I hope you will rename your new venture immediately before further confusion ensues.
    Thank you for your prompt consideration,
    Diane Spitzer

  12. Kendra Scott October 23, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Emailed, hope it helps!

  13. Cathy Russell October 23, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Arianna,

    Are you aware that with your “Food for Thought” blog, you are infringing on well-established and trademarked entity? While it is fabulous that HuffPost has taken on the challenging and timely topic, the choice for a title already exists. Can’t believe that your legal department did not complete their due diligence and suggest a different avenue!

    Cathy Russell
    White Swan Inn
    Whitehall, MI

  14. Karen McCarthy October 23, 2013 at 2:05 am #

    I emailed this to Ms. Huffington and posted similar words to the HuffPost blog:

    Dear Ms. Huffington:

    I am a regular reader of HuffPost and I was thrilled to discover your new blog devoted to food and our attitudes about food as they relate to well-being and sustainability!

    The name, however, is problematic. There is a small food company in northern Michigan that has held a trademark on “Food for Thought” for 18 years. Their food products are superb, and the owners are dedicated activists for food justice, working both locally and globally for sustainable agriculture, fair trade, and organic farming. To use their trademarked phrase as the title of your blog is inconsistent with the values the blog purports to uphold.

    I hope to read very soon that HuffPost and Chipotle have chosen another name for this worthy endeavor.

    Thank you,
    Karen McCarthy

    Karen McCarthy
    karenfmccarthy@hotmail.com
    908 S. Union Street
    Traverse City, MI 49684

    “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. The third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

  15. Amy Tennis October 23, 2013 at 2:37 am #

    Arianna! LOVE the blog, please change the name. It belongs to our friends Timothy and Kathy Young, two very talented, solid gold souls who would like nothing better than to enlist all of us in a chance to choose a new name for the blog! Give us the challenge?
    Cheers and kind regards -
    Amy Tennis
    Owner/Operator
    New Mission Organics
    http://www.newmissionorganics.com
    love your local farmer

  16. triny aguirre October 23, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Dear Arianna:
    Your blog seems interesting and something that I would enjoy reading on a regular basis. Yet I find something very unsettling, the name. There is already a company in NW Michigan that has trademarked the Food For Thought name for many years. The company has a website, blog, YouTube page, FaceBook page and newsletter, all under that Food For Thought name.I don’t believe you would purposely misuse this trademark and I believe perhaps you may not be familiar with them. They sell the most amazing fair trade and organic products online as well. I highly recommend them! Here is a link to their website :http://www.foodforthought.net
    Thanks and I know you will take a look into this!
    Triny
    Houston, TX

  17. Anne Shoup October 23, 2013 at 3:41 am #

    Greetings –

    I’m writing as a friend and supporter of Food for Thought, a wonderful food business in northern Michigan. Their website is here:

    http://www.foodforthought.net/

    I understand that you have a new venture in partnership with Chipotle (of which I’m also a fan) that uses the “Food for Thought” name.

    Please reconsider the impact that your choice in this case will have on this generous family business. In all they do, our “Food for Thought” considers environmental impact, human rights, living wages, and giving back.

    While they may be smaller than your business, they are worthy of your respect and support.

    Please modify your name to reflect that respect.

    Sincerely,

    Anne Shoup
    Empire Michigan

  18. William Roark October 23, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    move on corporation!!!!! (Chipotle)

    Get your creative team to put on their thinking caps, because the name has been taken!!!! YEARS AGO!!!!

    So Sorry,…………………. now get to thinking of a new name!!!!

  19. Michael Poehlman October 23, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Emailed the HuffPost legal team!

  20. Alex Pineau October 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Thanks for continuing to support sustainability, well-being, and food related issues! I support your initiatives here, but not if it is at the expense of other allies in the industry.

    A good sized company in Michigan has built a trademarked brand, Food for Thought. They have been in business for 18 years and are committed to all of the same goals and issues that this blog aims to address.

    In today’s online world of SEO games, Huffington Post’s new blog not only infringes on trademarks, but directly steps on the toes of like-minded entities that are trying to accomplish the same goals. I would believe an intelligent group like the Huffington Post would be cautious with harming their allies in such topics. The relatively small group of people committed to helping create a sustainable food chain need to stay banded together by being aware of each others moves and working together, not in competition.

    Please consider voluntarily changing the name of this blog to something just as wonderful, but not in direct conflict with your friends and allies.

    Alex Pineau
    Evergreen Market
    http://www.milocalfood.com
    “Your source for local foods and Michigan-made products”

  21. Rebecca Reynolds October 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Dear Arianna,
    A company I respect on multiple levels is named FOOD FOR THOUGHT. They do so much good in the world for sustainable agriculture, socially conscious practices, and environmental justice, not only for their community, but also far beyond. Their rights for use of the name Food For Thought are being infringed upon by your desire to title this blog post by the same name, something they have worked hard to uphold. I too respect your work, and I would like to continue to support it and pass along the good you do to others. I do ask that you respect this small, but loving, and powerful company Food For Thought and please choose another name.
    Thank you and be well,
    Rebecca Reynolds Wallack

  22. Kate October 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    “Food for thought” is a common phrase and the ability to trademark it has some limitations. The following discussion is enlightening. In this case, don’t think HP is actually infringing.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2002/02/can_you_trademark_the_phrase_lets_roll.html

    • Timothy Young October 25, 2013 at 2:18 am #

      Kate:
      Actually it already is trademarked…by me. You can trademark common phrases. First use in commerce takes precedence. And we have not only trademarked that name in the food category, but have been using it for a blog and other communication around just and sustainable food for many years. However, this is not really a legal issue as much as an ethical one. Entities the size of Huffington Post (and their owner AOL) and Chipotle don’t enter the market without vetting such ideas. While possible, it’s highly unlikely that they didn’t know we existed. So the ethical question is why did they choose the override my use? There’s no shortage of creative names they could have come up with. I’m just a small family owned company and before I chose Food For Thought, I spent the time to search out other uses for potential conflict. And when I didn’t find any, I applied for the trademark and received it. So for the same reason I would not be able to launch a blog called Coca-Cola, Large entities should be held to the same standard. Why should they exempt from following the law or being ethical about their business practices? I hold out hope that it was a mistake and they will correct it. The Blog is a great idea, but it needs a new name.

      • Kate November 1, 2013 at 3:23 am #

        Even registering a trademark with the USPTO doesn’t actually give you an exclusive right to use a phrase – particularly a phrase that’s obviously been in common use long before you registered it. Registering just gives you a Federal forum in which to litigate your attempt to prevent others from using the phrase. If you choose to use a common phrase as your trademark, it seems to me that you’re sort of “asking for it” when you try assert an exclusive right to the phrase. Your comparison of your use of the phrase “food for thought” as a trademark to the use of the term “Coca-Cola” also indicates to me that you just don’t “get it.”

        • Glenn November 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

          Wow Kate, you raised this discussion to a personal level by telling Tim he does not “get it” and you’re other previous comments. Tim has remained professional and courteous in his remarks to you but you attack. You obviously have a personal bias /interest in this manner. Why?

  23. Randy October 23, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Dear Arianna:

    I have just become aware that a potential infringement is occurring with the Food For Thought company in Northern Michigan. I have been a consumer for over 16 years for their products and have had the pleasure to meet the Mr. Young on several occasions. He and his company represent sustainability. Surely if you knew about the efforts and organic nature of the commitment Mr. Young has put into developing the products and energy he devotes to all things sustainable. You would want to support his company, fund his product development and support his community development that reaches across the world.

    Please consider supporting the mission of Northern Michigan’s Food For Thought, and put your creative juices to a different name.

    Thank You

    Randy Smith, President
    Renewable Services, LLC
    Acme, MI 49610

  24. bill autenreith October 23, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    My 2-cents (relayed via email):

    Dear Arianna,

    As a fellow advocate of returning to and maintaining a more intimate relationship with food and drink, I hereby implore you to receive, with empathy, the lucid plea made by Timothy Young, and echoed by many, regarding the title of your new HuffPost/Chipotle section.

    I heartily commend the intention of your blog, while feeling that it would be a great shame for it remain a source of discord for such a food-conscious community as is the one that Mr. Young is an exemplary member of.

    “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    ~ bill autenreith

  25. Gail Schultz October 23, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    emailed Arianna:
    Dear Ariannna,
    By now, I know you are aware that a small company by the name “Food for Thought” has existed in northern Michigan for 18 years. It appears that you have a similar mission to that of this company: to support the effort to raise awareness surrounding just and sustainable food. So cool and admirable! However, since Timothy Young and company have employed this title for a good many years, I think it is an error on your part to infringe upon his business and creativity by continuing to use the same name. Not so cool and admirable!

    Wishing you continued success in your business ventures and in developing a new name for your blog.

    Gail Schultz
    Concerned customer and supporter

  26. Patty Bauer October 24, 2013 at 12:43 am #

    Emailed.

  27. Richard Hendricks October 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    n Oct 22, 2013, at 9:08 PM, “Richard Hendricks” wrote:

    I am writing on behalf of Northern Michigan Food for Thought Company. Timothy Young, Founder and CEO of the Northern Michigan Food For Thought Company has been in business for eight years. He produces very high quality products, primarily preserves, salsa’s and many many more products. The has built an outstanding reputation in his field and has always labeled his products “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”. He had taken measures to secure this label as his own and marketed his products under this label for as long as the company has existed.

    Whether your people or Chipotle checked on this when you decided to partner with them using the theme and/or identity Food For Thought is questionable in my mind. This is totally wrong.

    I have been a part of a Non-Profit, Grow Benzie, Inc., in this area in Northern Michigan also. We support agriculture in our area, Food production from the area, selling and marketing of local foods and have even established a Incubator Kitchen for residents of our county to start-up an entremeneral food businesses. Timithy Young and his company have the utmost support from both our organization and me personally.

    I wish you would reconsider the direction you and Chipotle are going with copying the food for thought identity because of the possible impact and confusion with Timothy Young’s business.

    Please take my words seriously. I had to express my concern.

    Richard Hendricks
    rhhend@charter.net
    P.O. Box 667
    Beulah, MI 49617

  28. John Hooper October 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Dear Arianna,

    Food for Thought is the trademark name of one of the nation’s, and
    Michigan’s, premier organic purveyors of sustainable and ecologically produced food and value added products. For 18 years Food For Thought has been at the forefront of the social justice and fair food movement. Their tireless work and network building within the organic community is legendary. We – Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance, an organization with a 40 year history (the last 20 as a non-profit) request that the Huffington Post and Chipolte rename their new endeavor. The trademark, Food For Thought, has been well established by half a lifetime of work by Timothy and Kathy Young.

    Thanks for your sincere consideration.

    John, – Chair – Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance

  29. Richard Hendricks October 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    On Oct 22, 2013, at 9:08 PM, “Richard Hendricks” wrote:

    I am writing on behalf of Northern Michigan Food for Thought Company. Timothy Young, Founder and CEO of the Northern Michigan Food For Thought Company has been in business for eight years. He produces very high quality products, primarily preserves, salsa’s and many many more products. The has built an outstanding reputation in his field and has always labeled his products “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”. He had taken measures to secure this label as his own and marketed his products under this label for as long as the company has existed.

    Whether your people or Chipotle checked on this when you decided to partner with them using the theme and/or identity Food For Thought is questionable in my mind. This is totally wrong.

    I have been a part of a Non-Profit, Grow Benzie, Inc., in this area in Northern Michigan also. We support agriculture in our area, Food production from the area, selling and marketing of local foods and have even established a Incubator Kitchen for residents of our county to start-up an entremeneral food businesses. Timithy Young and his company have the utmost support from both our organization and me personally.

    I wish you would reconsider the direction you and Chipotle are going with copying the food for thought identity because of the possible impact and confusion with Timothy Young’s business.

    Please take my words seriously. I had to express my concern.

    Richard Hendricks
    rhhend@charter.net
    P.O. Box 667
    Beulah, MI 49617

  30. Kate October 24, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    Do you plan to make infringement claims against all the other entities — including other food businesses — that use the common phrase “Food for Thought” as their name or in their name? Some of them predate your own use, by the way, and your “application” for a trademark is pretty meaningless – it certainly doesn’t give you the unassailable, exclusive right you seem to think. You’re naive about the uphill battle you face and your use of “Coca-Cola” (duh) as an example of a name you wouldn’t infringe certainly shows that you don’t “get it.” I’m afraid it’s YOU, not the “big company,” that’s showing hubris here. Given the commonness of the phrase “food for thought” plus the fact that it’s already used by other businesses and food-related entities, your claim for exclusiveness and “likelihood of confusion” is pretty much a loser.

    • Timothy Young October 25, 2013 at 2:14 am #

      Kate:
      My apologies. There is clearly some missing information that would have helped you understand the case and I have not had the time to share more details with our readers. Trademark law can be really confusing. I’ve been up to my ears in it for close to couple decades and it’s still feels like the tax code. So while I plan to publish a more detailed blog post in the coming days, let me clarify a few things for you. Despite common perceptions about trademarks, you can trademark common phrases and they have legal standing for specific uses in commerce. There are a lot of other legally compliant uses of Food for Thought, from insurance companies to restaurants, caterers, grocery stores and much more. However they do not conflict with my use and brand. Many of us have met, talked and worked out agreements to avoid consumer confusion. But despite your claim, there are none that pre-date mine in my category. If there were, I am not aware of them and the Patent and Trademark office would not have approved my application and granted me the trademark 18 years ago.

      I’m not sure what I wrote that makes you think I implied that I have some “unassailable, exclusive right?” Huffington Post/AOL/Chipotle, however, chose to use my trademarked phrase in a way that does infringe on my previous use, not to mention the logos are very similar. Legal standing aside, this is more an issue of business ethics. I did my due diligence before choosing the name Food for Thought to make sure I was not stepping on anyone’s toes. Apparently they did not; or did, and did not care.

      With kind regards,
      Timothy Fitzgerald Young
      Founder/President
      Food For Thought, Inc.

    • Enrico Schaefer November 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      As a trademark lawyer who specializes in these issues I always find these threads really interesting. There is so much confusion about how trademark law works among people who don’t practice trademark law as well as the average consumer. I always like to take a little time to help educate people.

      First of all, some people think that common words and phrases can’t be trademarked. Actually, most of the worlds trademarks come from common words and phrases. “just do it” is a common phrase. Also, “I’m loving it.” There are hundreds of other examples, all of which are protectable as trademarks is used to identify the source of goods and services. There is no legal question that “Food for Thought” is a trademark associated with the company “Food for Thought” in existence for almost 20 years. In trademark law, it is first come, first serve.

      Here are some other points.. ” “application” for a trademark is pretty meaningless” – Actually it is not. Once you apply for a mark, your rights start attaching. Granted, actual registration of the mark gives you all the presumptions of validity and other rights provided by the Lanham Act. In this case, “Food for THought” as a registered trademark is incontestable under law given its long use. Hardly meaningless, especially since infringers could have to pay up to $150,000 in statutory damages for each willful infringement. Of course, you don’t have tho register your trademark to be protected. COmmon law rights attach as soon as you start using a mark to identify goods and services, i.e. such as the use of “food for thought” for information about sustainable foods.

      “it certainly doesn’t give you the unassailable, exclusive right you seem to think.” Actually, that is exactly what trademark law does, give you exclusive rights within a market so that there is a single source of goods and services which consumers can rely on. The more relevant question is whether the exclusive right pertains to the later use by Huffington, a blog devoted to information about sustainable foods. Keep in mind, there is Delta Airlines and Delta Faucet. Because the goods are so distinct, there is no likelihood of confusion.

      These issues are often fact intensive and subject to debate. Food for Thought has had a website addressing content about sustainable food for many years (common law rights). Huffington Post in now launching a blog devoted to information about sustainable foods. The font and style of the Huffington design for the logo has many similarities to Food For Thought’s longstanding logo. Would a consumer likely be confused between them? You decide….

  31. Doug Luciani October 25, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    Dear Ms. Huffington,

    Food for Thought is an incredibly impactful business in northern Michigan that has raised the awareness of hundreds of thousands about the importance of sustainable agriculture and local food production throughout Michigan and the Midwest. Besides that, its president, Timothy Young, has promoted global causes by running across Ethiopia and Palestine over the past two years with other runners and activists from our region. Their work has resulted in funding new schools, establishing sustainable farming practices, and other ways to benefit the residents of those areas.

    Food for Thought has worked for nearly two decades to develop its product, strengthen its brand, and promote a culture that has only now become en vogue. It is the classic “little guy” when attempting to battle in a traditional way an enterprise like yours. Please respect Food for Thought’s passion, its body of work, and its legal trademark and find a new name for your new product. You may even want to feature Food for Thought in the Huffington Post…

    Thank you,

    Douglas R. Luciani
    President & CEO
    Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce
    Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation
    luciani@tcchamber.org | 231.995-7108

    • sarah shaffer-earl October 27, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      hi doug! fancy meetin’ you here!

  32. Michele White October 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    Dear Arianna

    I’m writing as a friend and supporter of Food for Thought, a deep seeded food business in northern Michigan. Their website is here:

    http://www.foodforthought.net/

    I understand that you have a new venture in partnership with Chipotle that uses the “Food for Thought” name.

    Please reconsider the impact that your choice in this case will have on this generous family business. In all they do, our “Food for Thought” considers environmental impact, human rights, living wages, and giving back.

    While they may be smaller than your business, they are worthy of your respect and support.

    Please modify your name to reflect that respect. I imagine you would understand if the shoe where on your foot~

    Sincerely,

    Michelle

    Michelle White, Founder and President
    Michelle’s Miracle, Inc.
    PO Box 516 Leland MI 49654
    800-939-3199
    http://www.michellesmiracle.com
    http://www.twitter.com/michellesmiracl
    http://thecherrylady.com/wordpress
    http://www.facebook.com/michellesmiracle

  33. Chris Sack October 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Good Day Ms. Huffington,

    I appreciate you taking a moment to consider the content of my email. I own a tea and spice business, Great Lakes Tea & Spice (www.TEAandSPICE.com) in Northern Michigan. One of my fellow regional businesses, Food for Thought, Inc. of Honor, Michigan (www.foodforthought.net), has been an entity for at least 15 years in the area and I have had an opportunity to watch them grow organically in a highly ethical and strictly organic/fair trade manner. They have held the highest standard possible for a small specialty foods business with amazing quality, modest profit margins and a higher purpose on the planet. It is very important for all of us in small business to know that someone like Arianna Huffington and Huffington Post is able to model this same ethical behavior exhibited by Food for Thought, Inc and honor their copyrights.

    Please take the necessary steps to reach out to Timothy Young at Timothy@foodforthought.net. He is a thoughtful and highly engaged citizen with the ability to reason through this situation with you.

    Best,

    Christopher

    Christopher R. Sack
    President/Co-Founder
    Great Lakes Tea and Spice
    chris@teaandspice.com
    T: 231.645.8327/TF: 877.645.9363
    Website: http://www.TEAandSPICE.com
    FB: http://facebook.com/teaandspice
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/teaandspice

  34. Angelia Hopsom October 25, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Tim:

    I tried multiple times to post the following to the Huffington Post Food for Thought blog and it’s not allowing me to post it. Please go on and post it for me. I just came out of an arbitration with a corporate giant and I know just how painful this is. I will keep you in my thoughts and keep praying for them to have a change or heart.

    =======
    Arianna; I am a small business owner of a safety consulting firm. We specialize in providing safety consulting and training to various industries including the food and beverage market.

    Food safety and sustainable food is one of our passions and we are happy about Huffington Post and Chipotle embracing this concept, however as a small business owner I am disappointed that two corporate giants would knowingly infringe on the trademark of a small business.

    Food for Thought is a Michigan based company that I truly love and have supported for many years. They have been around for nearly two decades and have been doing great work in the sustainable, whole food space. Please consider changing the name of your initiative. This is a new project for you but has been a lifetime of building a brand and reputation in the marketplace for the “REAL” Food for Thought. – http://www.foodforthought.net/

  35. Scott Evans October 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Dear Ms. Huffington,

    This morning I was made aware of an unfortunate choice your firm has made in commandeering the “Food for Thought” identity from a dear friend of mine’s company.

    My friend, Tim Young, of Honor, MI, started his firm 18 years ago, dedicating himself to the organic and sustainable food movement, long before most people were even thinking about this subject. He has worked hard and built a company that remains dedicated to these aims, not only discussing the issues affecting our food choices but also raising, harvesting and processing healthy food alternatives. I’ve been proud to know Tim and even more proud of his corporate commitments to his community and extending further out to the world.

    To say it is disappointing for large corporations such as yours and Chipotle to ride herd over his trademark protections is an understatement. Sadly it is likely a commentary of our time and largely emblematic of the difference between those who walk the walk versus those that simply tall the talk. I would have hoped for better out of both of your organizations.

    You might want to check out his website to understand what you’re stepping on:

    http://www.foodforthought.net/

    Scott Evans
    2315 Selwyn Ave.
    Apt. D
    Charlotte, NC 28207

  36. Timothy Young October 26, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    Dear Ms. Huffington,

    Thank you for another daily update. I love receiving your emails and depend on it as one of my daily sources of information. I have to say I was very disappointed today when I saw the name of your your new food related blog – Food for Thought. It’s a great name with a vital message. I’m so proud that Huffington is looking at our food system – crucial to so many aspects of our personal, community, and economic health and resilience.

    An esteemed local business owner in our region, and good friend, also thought so when he came up with the same name for his company, his brand, and his life’s work to produce a specialty food line that does so much more than taste delicious. Timothy Young’s business is a living model of sustainability and he uses it as a platform to inform, engage, and create change. I imagine you hope that your communications, your blogs, your writing will accomplish some the same things. I imagine you hope your “Food for Thought” will get people thinking about our food system so they begin making better decisions and demanding better quality. That is what Timothy has been doing for 18 years. And yes, he writes about it too.

    Please think of someone you know, or perhaps remember yourself, what it is like to be a small business owner. Please recognize how the work of activist leaders like Timothy, has paved the way for these issues to finally be gaining national attention. Please acknowledge the original Food for Thought and their legal trademark.

    Sincerely,
    Shauna Treter

  37. Leslie Hamp October 28, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Awesome news that you’re launching a new section to examine attitudes toward food, where our food comes from and how it’s produced. We desperately need more attention on the topics you plan to cover, and I’ll look forward to reading your reports as well as the positive impact of your section.

    My one concern is with the title — Food for Thought. For the past 15 years I’ve been purchasing amazing, sustainable products from Food for Thought, a Michigan-based company, and am concerned that your section name will adversely affect this company. As this Michigan producer is among the BEST of the best and totally walking their talk — the talk you will be emphasizing in your column — I hope you will rename your section to eliminate any confusion and trademark infringement. After all, small producers are our best hope for clean, sustainable foods and Food for Thought in Michigan exemplifies best practices.

    When you announce the reason for the name change, your story could feature the amazing work and philosophy of Timothy Fitzgerald Young, Founder & CEO of Food for Thought (http://www.foodforthought.net).

    Thanks for your attention to this and for your fine reporting.


    Leslie Hamp
    http://www.lesliehammp.com

  38. Dan Kelly October 28, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Hey Arianna,

    I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen of your work in the world, with one recent exception. I’d like to suggest that Huff Post make a name change. As you no doubt have heard, “Food For Thought” has been trademarked by a Benzie County, Michigan business for over a decade. I’m not a trademark attorney, so I won’t go into the legal aspects. Couldn’t the Huff Post martial the creative resources to come up with a more unique name? Why suck our regional economic vitality? Please think about implementing a new brand that would inspire Huff Post readers and keep regional businesses thriving. We can stand together…

    Thanks,

    Dan Kelly

  39. enrico schaefer November 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    As a trademark lawyer who specializes in these issues I always find these threads really interesting. There is so much confusion about how trademark law works among people who don’t practice trademark law as well as the average consumer. I always like to take a little time to help educate people.

    First of all, some people think that common words and phrases can’t be trademarked. Actually, most of the worlds trademarks come from common words and phrases. “just do it” is a common phrase. Also, “I’m loving it.” There are hundreds of other examples, all of which are protectable as trademarks is used to identify the source of goods and services. There is no legal question that “Food for Thought” is a trademark associated with the company “Food for Thought” in existence for almost 20 years. In trademark law, it is first come, first serve.

    Here are some other points.. ” “application” for a trademark is pretty meaningless” – Actually it is not. Once you apply for a mark, your rights start attaching. Granted, actual registration of the mark gives you all the presumptions of validity and other rights provided by the Lanham Act. In this case, “Food for THought” as a registered trademark is incontestable under law given its long use. Hardly meaningless, especially since infringers could have to pay up to $150,000 in statutory damages for each willful infringement. Of course, you don’t have tho register your trademark to be protected. COmmon law rights attach as soon as you start using a mark to identify goods and services, i.e. such as the use of “food for thought” for information about sustainable foods.

    “it certainly doesn’t give you the unassailable, exclusive right you seem to think.” Actually, that is exactly what trademark law does, give you exclusive rights within a market so that there is a single source of goods and services which consumers can rely on. The more relevant question is whether the exclusive right pertains to the later use by Huffington, a blog devoted to information about sustainable foods. Keep in mind, there is Delta Airlines and Delta Faucet. Because the goods are so distinct, there is no likelihood of confusion.

    These issues are often fact intensive and subject to debate. Food for Thought has had a website addressing content about sustainable food for many years (common law rights). Huffington Post in now launching a blog devoted to information about sustainable foods. The font and style of the Huffington design for the logo has many similarities to Food For Thought’s longstanding logo. Would a consumer likely be confused between them? You decide….

  40. Christine Armbrecht November 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Good Morning.
    Here, in Leelanau County Michigan, a grass roots company was formed and named Food For Thought. The founder, Timothy Young’s intention was to provide an array of premium food products born from nature here in Michigan. Timothy is a leader in the wholesome, organic food movement. I recently learned that his company name is used within your corporate network. This is a David and Goliath issue and Timothy simply does not have the resources nor time commitment to fight the matter. In an act of kindness to Timothy and his hard work, would you please explore alternatives to the use of Food For Thought. Perhaps a miner issue in your community, for those of us in Leelanau County it is a matter of great importance. I would be pleased to talk more about this with you. Thank you so much.
    Christine Armbrecht

  41. Nancy Allen November 9, 2013 at 10:58 am #

    Dear Ms. Huffington

    My dear friend Timothy Young of the real Food for Thought is quite upset that you have not acknowledged your company’s mistake in using his name and content (disguised).

    I believe in you, your company and your politics. I ask you to look into this huge error you’ve committed and remedy the situation. Please. I would expect no less of you.

    Please understand that our Northern Michigan community is proud of Mr. Young and all that he has accomplished. His business may not be a huge conglomerate but it is a thoughtfully and well run business.

    Food for Thought’s products and business practices are top notch. Check out our community here in Leelanau and Benzie counties and you’ll find the likes of people like Alice Waters, Mario Batali, Alice Medrich, Martha Teichner and Kathleen Sibelius visiting or with long time ties. We are not Podunk, USA. Many of us gladly gave up careers and lives in big cities to live a more thoughtful and kind way of life. (My husband and I are two.)

    We hope that you will honor Mr. Young and the entire community that supports and loves him and his business, and back off. You’re well funded enough to find another name and identity.

    Warm regards
    Nancy K. Allen

    Chef-Educator Nancy Krcek Allen
    2750 West School Lake Road
    Maple City MI 49664
    Cell: 231.709.0070
    Home: 231.334.3049
    Author “Discovering Global Cuisines”
    A culinary textbook

  42. Michelle Hazard November 10, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    http://networktraversecity.com/2013/11/10/a-david-vs-goliath-tale-of-trademark-infringement-did-huffington-post-and-chipotle-deliberately-use-a-trademarked-name-food-for-thought/

    Dear Arianna@HuffingtonPost.com and Chipotle,

    The “Food for Thought” brand and trademark is already in use for an awesome local company here in Northern Michigan. If you continue to try to squash the small town enterprise, the very name may come back and bite you in the collective food for thought. Think about it! Don’t steal the name.

    Chipotle you tout “Food with Integrity” as your slogan how about treating Food For Thought to the Integrity they deserve find a new name for your blog.

    Sincerely, Michelle Hazard

  43. cheryl P November 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

    I emailed a letter. Good Luck Little Guy. I hope you win.

  44. Joe Kreider November 30, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Dear Arianna and Mark,

    As I am sure you are aware of from other letters you have received from supporters of Timothy Young and family’s Northern Michigan company, Food For Thought, we support the Huffington Post’s recent venture aimed at bringing sustainability and awareness of food-related issues into focus but just as strongly reject your infringement on an already existing trademark and the Young family’s life work. As someone who has worked for Food for Thought in the past and is fully aware of the outstanding integrity employed in every aspect of the company, I find it especially troubling. If you are concerned with ethics in our food system, as your new venture suggests, why are you willing to ignore the ethical issue at hand as you continue to infringe on this already-existing trademark? I am sure your public response to our letters, although delayed, will bring consistency in that regard. I look forward to whatever new, creative name your team comes up with for what has the potential to be an exciting new venture for the Huffington Post that doesn’t raise such questions about your own integrity.

    Sincerely,
    Joseph Kreider
    Ashland, WI

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A David vs. Goliath Tale of Trademark infringement: Did Huffington Post and Chipotle Deliberately Use A Trademarked Name? | Food For Thought - November 1, 2013

    […] You can read Timothy Young’s letter requesting that Huffington Post change the name of its blog, and many of the letters supporting Young and his Food for Thought brand, at the Food for Thought website and blog.  Send your own letters of support to arianna@huffingtonpost.com and post them to: http://www.foodforthought.net/food-for-thought-needs-your-help/ […]

  2. A David vs. Goliath tale of trademark infringement |Glen Arbor Sun - November 1, 2013

    […] You can read Timothy Young’s letter requesting that Huffington Post change the name of its blog, and many of the letters supporting Young and his Food for Thought brand, at the Food for Thought website and blog. Send your own letters of support to arianna@huffingtonpost.com and post them here. […]

  3. A David vs. Goliath Tale of Trademark infringement: Did Huffington Post and Chipotle Deliberately Use A Trademarked Name? | Food For Thought | Network Traverse City, Michigan - November 10, 2013

    […] Send your own letters of support of the true “Food for Thought” to arianna@huffingtonpost.com and post them to: http://www.foodforthought.net/food-for-thought-needs-your-help/ […]

  4. A David vs. Goliath Tale of Trademark infringement: Did Huffington Post and Chipotle Deliberately Use A Trademarked Name? | Food for Thought: Chipotle Accountability Tour - January 29, 2014

    […] You can read Timothy Young’s letter requesting that Huffington Post change the name of its blog, and many of the letters supporting Young and his Food for Thought brand, at the Food for Thought website and blog.  Send your own letters of support to arianna@huffingtonpost.com and post them to: http://chipotlewatch.com/food-for-thought-needs-your-help/ […]

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