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Momofuku Owner Cools Down Over “Chili Crunch” Trademark

The celebrity chef, podcaster and author behind the Momofuku brand of restaurants has promised to stop enforcing a trademark for the term “chili crunch.”


The attempted trademark of the phrase by David Chang’s food empire caused consternation amongst far smaller players in the Asian food market. However, reports NBC News, the chef has now issued an apology and cooled down his company’s hot pursuit of this trademark. 


Chang and Momofuku CEO Marguerite Mariscal made the statement in Chang’s podcast, The Dave Chang Show. Chang said: “First and foremost, I want to apologize to everyone in the AAPI community who’s been hurt or feels like I’ve marginalized them or put a ceiling on them by our actions. There’s a lot of chefs that I’m friends with. There’s a lot of people that are upset, customers, and that’s the last thing — literally the last thing — that I wanted to happen.” 


According to the Guardian, the brand had targeted companies using the terms “chili crunch” and “chile crunch”; and sent them cease-and-desist letters. A spokesperson for Momofuku and Chang told TODAY.com: “When we created our product, we wanted a name we could own and intentionally picked ‘Chili Crunch’ to further differentiate it from the broader chili crisp category.”


However, Chang confirmed in the podcast: “We’re not going to enforce the trademark. “And by doing so, it’s possible that it becomes a generic term and nobody can own it.”

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