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Momofuku Wages Chile Crunch Trademark Battle


Momofuku, a global culinary brand founded by celebrity chef David Chang, recently took steps to protect the “chile crunch” trademark while seeking a similar trademark for “chili crunch,” reports The News York Times.

The company has been sending cease-and-desist letters to at least five other food companies that use both phrases in their marketing. The report begs the question: “How can anyone presume to own the English translation for a basic condiment?”

“It should never have been trademarked,” said Jing Gao, owner of Fly By Jing, whose Sichuan chile crisp helped popularize the condiment, according to the report. “It’s a descriptive, generic, cultural term, but in Chinese, there are numerous ways of referring to sauces like these with tons of variations, regional styles, and techniques.”

Momofuku acquired the trademark for “chile crunch” in a legal settlement after a rival company accused it of trademark infringement. Full Story (Subscription Required)