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Smooth rock duo Hall & Oates are suing a Brooklyn food company that's selling "Haulin' Oats" granola, claiming it violates their trademark moniker.
Not only did Early Bird Foods name one of their six granola flavors after Daryl Hall and John Oates, but they offered a coupon code, "SayItIsntSo," after the rock and soul singers' 1983 hit song.
Early Bird describes Haulin' Oats as a "back-to-basics flavor ... perfect by itself or as the base for a breakfast parfait creation." The brand's website adds, "Haulin' Oats is great for school lunches too, it's nut free!" And other than the coupon code, there is no other reference to the rockers on company's page.
Still, Hall and Oates' suit claims the name "is an obvious play upon Plaintiff's well-known Hall & Oates mark, and was selected by defendant in an effort to trade off of the fame and notoriety associated with the artist's and plaintiff's well-known marks." The suit was filed in federal court in Brooklyn and contends the "phonetic play" on the duo's name is a violation of their trademark.
Early Bird owner Nekisia Davis declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Early Bird isn't the first food company to come up with "Haulin' Oats," nor is it the first to be sued by the duo. Hall and Oates sued the Haulin' Oats granola company of Tennessee and California in 2014, claiming trademark infringement. They reached a deal with the firm which now sells its granola in five states.
It is unclear if Haulin' Oats the company has joined Hall & Oates the band in their suit against "Haulin' Oats" the product.
Trademarks, and the suits to enforce them, have been all over the news lately, from athletes like Jameis Winston and Marshawn Lynch trademarking their nicknames and catchphrases to Taylor Swift trademarking lyrics. Maybe it's part of the larger trend of patent trolling and aggressive copyright enforcement, or maybe artists and athletes are getting savvier about protecting the fruits of their labor.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.