Trademark Law: The Open Letter from Piece, Love and Chocolate

Those in the Boulder, CO and surrounding area already know about Piece, Love and Chocolate. For those that don't, it's a 'sweet shop dedicated to all things chocolate' - a little place that will 'amuse your bouche and enchant your soul.' A quick look at the Google reviews (and the overwhelming majority are glowing reviews) will show that the shop showcases truffles, baked goods, and gluten-free cakes. And the chocolate boutique features classes (like the upcoming Chocolate Pots de Creme, Pudding & Creme Brulee by Chefs Genny and Sarah).

It is also facing a battle with Vosges Haut-Chocolate. Piece, Love and Chocolate issued an open letter to them and the company's founder, Katrina Markoff, regarding the cease and desist letter it had received from their attorneys. It seems Vosges Haut-Chocolate believe Piece, Love and Chocolate have infringed on the 'Peace, Love, and Chocolate' trademark.

I first saw the news on my twitter feed, and I found it interesting, especially after @dallasfoodorg pointed to his followers the many instances of others using the same phrase in business (tshirts), published books, and Piece, Love and Chocolate's own LLC filing - all before (and in some cases many years) before the 'Peace, Love, and Chocolate' trademark was registered.

There are many questions here, especially when the situation is between a prior user vs. a federal registration. And why a cease and desist letter was issued now when the business has been so active and in the public eye in the state of Colorado for so long. And considering the phrase in question is spelled differently (piece vs peace even) - unlike Peace Love and Chocolate which has the same exact phrasing and spelling.

Many will be following this to see how it ends. Especially those who love chocolate and support small, thriving businesses that benefit their communities.


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