EFF Hall of shame
Kern's Kitchen are greedy and stupid
Louisville-based Kern's Kitchen has asserted a trademark over the
term "Derby Pie," a popular Southern dessert made with chocolate
and walnuts. For decades, Kern’s has threatened and sued
restaurants that include derby pies on the menu and magazines that
have the temerity to share “derby pie” recipes, even though the
term is widely recognizable as the name of the pie in question.
Now the company behind the most litigious confection in America is
going after individual websites that post new recipes for derby
pies. In order to exploit the fact that free speech is only as
strong as its weakest link, the company has taken its claims
upstream to the hosts of those websites, such as Wordpress.com.
To its credit, Wordpress did not simply takedown the websites, but
worked with users to try to resolve the issue.
To be clear, Kern's Kitchen is asserting a trademark claim on the
name itself, and not a copyright claim on the recipe. That's
because in the U.S., recipes aren't generally subject to copyright
restrictions. As a result, websites are in the clear if they
change the name to something outside of Kern's trademark.