Clever wordplay in granola branding? Daryl Hall & John Oates can’t go for that. At least in this case.
Hall & Oates — the duo behind hits such as “Maneater,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” — have slapped Early Bird Foods & Co with legal action over the company’s Haulin’ Oats granola, which has clearly left a bad taste in the musicians’ mouths.
The suit, filed in U.S. district court in New York on Wednesday, claims that Hall and Oates owns the trademark and service mark rights to the Haulin’ Oats name, as it pertains to the sale of oatmeal and the provision of food delivery services.
Given the identical name and similarities of the products, Early Bird’s offering is clearly not to the liking of the pop duo.
Early Birds’ product, which is billed as “perfect by itself or as the base for a breakfast parfait creation,” sells for $27 per three-pack on the company’s website.
According to the complaint, the duo acquired the rights to the Haulin’ Oats marks in 2014, after discovering that a Nashville-based company had been using the name to sell oatmeal. The pair entered a partnership with the Tennessee company, in which the company assigned the marks to the musicians, and the duo granted a license back to the company.
The Early Bird product, the suit claims, creates confusion for consumers.
The complaint says that the musicians sent a cease and desist letter to Early Bird in April 2014, but the company did not comply.
A spokesperson for Early Bird told TheWrap that the company currently has no comment except “say it isn’t so,” an apparent reference to the group’s 1983 song of that title.
Alleging trademark and service mark infringement and unfair competition, Hall and Oates are asking that Early Bird be permanently barred from using the Haulin’ Oats name. They’re also seeking “all gains, profits and advantages derived by [defendants] from the unlawful activities alleged herein.”