This week's Sunday New York Times brings news of a complicated battle over fried chicken that's being waged in New York City, but that extends across the East Coast. Abdul Haye owns the trademark over "Kennedy Fried Chicken," which the United States Patent and Trademark office awarded him in 2005, and wants franchise fees from owners of other fried chicken stores.
Let's get your first question out of the way first. Kentucky Fried Chicken sued a previous owner of a Kennedy Fried Chicken (who didn't trademark the name) in 1990. They won the dispute, but the company changed its name to KFC a year later, invalidating the dispute.
So, the "Kennedy Fried Chicken" trademark could be awarded. And it was, in 2005, to Haye. A string of over 300 stores have emerged, and Haye has sent letters asking for monthly franchise fee, warning competitors they could face legal action if they don't pay. A website claims to track most Kennedy Fried Chicken stores.
One owner told the Times: "Anyone can own a Kennedy, and I’ve never heard of this Abdul Haye," Najib Ullah said. “Every place has a different owner: same chicken, different menu. So what’s the problem?”
The first "Kennedy Fried Chicken" Afghani owner, Zia Taeb, emigrated from Kabul in the 1970s. His store prompted a wave of copycats and now there are 350 Afghani-owned chicken outlets in New York alone. Why Kennedy? Afghanis admire the former U.S. President.
We'll see what happens in the Afghani chicken war.
See one take on fried chicken below: