HomeBusinessMomofuku and David Chang will cease enforcing 'chile crunch' trademark.

Momofuku and David Chang will cease enforcing ‘chile crunch’ trademark.

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Amid a public outcry, celebrity chef David Chang and Momofuku company have decided to retract their attempt to enforce the trademark for “chile crunch,” acknowledging that the term is widely seen as generic within the Asian condiment industry. The decision follows criticism from the AAPI community and others for allegedly stifling competition and cultural heritage by claiming ownership of a commonly used term. Despite purchase and legal rights to the trademark, Momofuku has opted not to enforce it moving forward.

In a podcast with Chang, Momofuku’s chief executive Marguerite Mariscal highlighted the risk of larger companies capitalizing on the “chile crunch” or “chili crunch” names, potentially diluting the value of the trademark. The move to relinquish enforcement comes after feedback from the community, leading Momofuku to reevaluate its position and commit to not imposing trademark restrictions. While some have urged the company to retire the trademark altogether, Momofuku has opted to retain it despite concerns about its impact on smaller producers.

Chang expressed regret over the divisive situation and apologized to the AAPI community for any hurt caused by their initial trademark enforcement attempts. The company’s decision to back down reflects a recognition of the cultural significance and shared desire for a diverse marketplace among different companies. Moving forward, Momofuku aims to foster a more collaborative environment while leaving room for competitors to use the “chile crunch” name without interference.

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