Trademark: Chicken Licken’s 'soul' battle thrown out

The Western Cape High Court has dismissed an application by Golden Fried Chicken (Pty) Ltd – the owners of Chicken Licken – who alleged trademark infringements in relation to the word ‘soul’, against a Plettenberg Bay restaurant formerly trading as ‘East Coast Soul Kitchen’. A Cape Times report says this as the company had already made efforts to remedy the situation by changing its name to ‘Sol Kitchen’. As reported in Legalbrief Case Law Briefs, the case came about in July 2021 when Chicken Licken's attorney, Ronald Wheeldon, contended that by trading as ‘East Coast Soul Kitchen’, the restaurant had infringed certain of the Chicken Licken trademarks. In their answering affidavit, lawyers for Sol Kitchen said: ‘Members of the public are not confused or deceived into believing that the business of the respondent is linked to or associated with that of the applicant. The respondent is not exploiting any trademark or damaging any brand, nor possibly or potentially causing any loss of sales caused by confusion. (Sol Kitchen) nevertheless decided to change the name to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation. A quick search of the word ‘soul’ at the Companies and Intellectual Property Office, and its use in the food industry found that there were more than 230 companies using the word ‘soul’, and half were related to food. Many of the food companies and/or restaurants had registered their companies more than 12 to 15 years ago. The applicant’s strategy has been to intimidate the owners with aggressive legal letters and litigation.’

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