Hall and Oates emerged from the ’80s as a bit of an afterthought. Even though they had a solid catalog of catchy hits, including “Maneater,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” and “Out of Touch,” their legacy was lumped in with other all-flash-no-substance first-wave-of-MTV acts. The pompadour and stache certainly didn’t help…and they did release some pretty terrible videos, but who didn’t back then?
Somewhere along the line, as it often happens, time passed and the duo started to garner some respect. Their songs were discovered by a new generation that waved its magic wand and declared them cool in a kinda-ironic-I-guess sorta way. You can almost pinpoint the exact moment the tides turned for H&O—when Joseph Gordon-Levitt danced to their song “You Make My Dreams” in 500 Days of Summer.
That was in 2009. In 2010, indie pop group The Bird and the Bee released the album Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates. And in 2014, H&O were inducted to the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Talk about a comeback.
Unfortunately, the new-and-improved Hall and Oates seem to have lost their sense of humor. At least that’s how it appears with the lawsuit they filed against Early Bird, a granola company that is selling a product called Haulin’ Oats.
The suit claims: “The name and mark Haulin’ Oats is an obvious play upon Plaintiff’s well-known Hall & Oates mark and was selected by defendant in an effort to trade off of the fame and notoriety associated with the artist’s and plaintiff’s well-known marks.”
The guys must have seen the possibility of this product coming from a mile away, because they preemptively secured the rights to the name. A spokesperson for the duo told Rolling Stone, “Hall and Oates’ company, Whole Oats Enterprises, owns a Federal Trademark Registration for the identical mark ‘Haulin Oats’ covering breakfast foods that is used in connection with the sale of ‘Haulin Oats’ branded oatmeal by Whole Oats Enterprises’ licensee. Early Bird Foods’ use of the mark on their own products is likely to confuse consumers and lead them to believe that such products are affiliated with or approved by Hall and Oates, which is not the case. Prior attempts to discuss this matter with Early Bird Foods were unsuccessful and Whole Oats was left with no other choice but to file suit in order to protect its valuable marks and goodwill.”
The band is seeking damages and for Early Bird to change the name of its Haulin’ Oats granola.
One person who still has her sense of humor intact is Early Bird owner Nekisia Davis, who when asked for a comment about the lawsuit by Rolling Stone, simply replied, “Say it isn’t so.”