Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

November 3, 2013

Name, logo 'strikingly similar'

HONOR — National website Huffington Post joined with a restaurant chain to produce a blog with a name, logo and content similar to a Benzie County man’s patented, trademarked business model, a move that raised questions about whether the AOL-owned media property copied his concept.

Timothy Young, proprietor of Food for Thought in Honor, launched his business in 1995. Food for Thought sells organic food products while advocating for what Young calls an equitable food system.

The goal, Young said, is to raise awareness about where our food comes from and the human and environmental costs of getting food on the cheap.

“(The business) was an extension of the human relief work I’d done ... largely in Guatemala and El Salvador,” Young said.

Young launched an identically named blog, Food for Thought, to further his advocacy. The two properties helped Young survive as a businessman while making a stand for his beliefs.

“We’ve always focused on being locally based,” Young said. “Our first product was a wild blueberry Merlot jam, and I literally went up to the Upper Peninsula and picked wild blueberries until I had blisters on my fingers.”

Two weeks ago, Young was surprised to learn that a national website and restaurant chain are discussing the same issues he’s been talking about for nearly two decades. That’s certainly not a problem for Young, but he’s alarmed that Huffington Post and Chipotle are doing so under his trademarked, patented name.

Huffington Post and Chipotle’s new blog is called Food for Thought. The logos also have similarities and the content of the Huffington Post blog delves into the same issues Young has been writing about for years in his Food for Thought blog.

Young’s wife, Kathy, stumbled across the Huffington Post blog about two weeks ago.

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