From Trademark & Copyright Law:
If you needed another reason to take action against a third party using your trademark – and you shouldn’t need another reason – consider the Red Hen restaurant. Which Red Hen? That’s the point.
As everyone by now knows, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted a tweet over the weekend stating:
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.
To say that this incident touched off a firestorm would be a massive understatement. Many were outraged by what they perceived as a completely unjustified act of exclusion, and contacted the Red Hen restaurant to express their views in the form of harassing calls, fake orders, death threats and also (one would hope) expressions of displeasure delivered in a courteous manner. Unfortunately, these critics did not always contact the right Red Hen.
For example, complaints started pouring in at the Red Hen restaurant in Swedesboro, New Jersey, even though it was hundreds of miles away. Angry comments were delivered by phone, by Yelp, and on the restaurant’s Facebook page. In desperation, the New Jersey restaurant posted this message on Facebook:
THE RED HEN IN SWEDESBORO, NEW JERSEY IS IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH THE RED HEN IN VIRGINIA.
We are an independent, family owned business who happens to share the same name.
Kindly check your facts before you erroneously defame an innocent business on Facebook in an attempt to destroy their business where they welcome all, irrespective of their race, religion, views or opinions.
Wishing all a safe and happy weekend!
You would think that such a message would discourage further Facebook posts . . . but you would be wrong. Apparently, fired up internet users don’t always read the fine print, and the angry posts continued. Elizabeth Pope, Operating Manager of the Red Hen in Swedesboro, told NJ.com, “People have no idea. They’ve dropped our rating from a 4.8 stars to three-point-something. People need to check the facts and do research before they make comments and try to ruin a small business.”
What is the lesson for trademark owners? Be on the lookout for unauthorized uses of your trademark and shut them down wherever possible. If someone has the same or a confusingly similar trade name as you and you let it go, the public may believe (mistakenly) that you are affiliated with them or responsible for their actions.
Link to the rest at Trademark & Copyright Law
PG says if you do a Google image search on “red hen trademark“, you’ll find several examples of people or organizations using “Red Hen” to identify themselves.
(If you are outside of the United States, you may receive different Google search results than those inside of the United States. If the whole Red Hen uproar makes you happy that you live outside of the United States, PG understands completely.)