Mexican Restaurant Sues KFC for Spanish Translation of Slogan

June 29, 2016 by No Comments

Barbecue Buffalo Chicken WingsIn the last two decades, patent and trademark lawsuits have increased from 500 annually to an average of nearly 3,000 annually, and big corporations like Kentucky Fried Chicken are no exception, apparently.

KFC launched a Hispanic marketing campaign last year that brought back its famous slogan “finger lickin’ good” — in Spanish.

“‘Para chuparse los dedos’ is a familiar and well-liked expression in the Hispanic community,” KFC spokesman, Rodrigo Coronel, said in a press release at the time. “The goal of this campaign, as well as the larger broad market program, is to effectively leverage the iconic assets of the KFC brand, including its biggest, Colonel Sanders, in a new and relevant way.”

Unfortunately, one Mexican restaurant in California didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for the project.

Taqueria el Amigo, a Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana in Orange County, is taking the fast-food giant to court for trademark infringement because of its use of the phrase, “Para chuparse los dedos!,” which translates roughly into “Good enough to lick one’s fingers!”

Taqueria el Amigo owner Felipa Piedra filed the lawsuit against KFC Corporation and its parent company, Yum! Brands, and claims that the restaurant has used the phrase commercially dating back to 1988.

Piedra first trademarked the motto in 2007, and it was renewed in 2015, according to United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records.

Fortunately, cases like Piedra’s may be in for some good news.

On Monday, the Supreme Court approved new government procedures for challenging patents, which is a win for companies that argued the fledgling process was a better, more cost-effective way to weed weak patents out of the system.

Justice Stephen Breyer said the Patent Office approach “helps to protect the public” by preventing individuals and companies from claiming overly broad patents that “might discourage the use of the invention by a member of the public.”

In this case, Piedra’s lawsuit may be able to use this new legislation in the fight against KFC.

Piedra claims that because of the extent of the KFC campaign using the slogan — which has been airing on Univision, Galavision, UniMas, Telemundo, Fox Deportes, ESPN Deportes and Mun2 — “defendants have reaped tremendous financial profits and gains, while [Taqueria el Amigo] has suffered financial losses.”

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