A few months ago, Impossible Foods – a multibillion dollar processed food company – filed a lawsuit against my company – IMPOSSIBLE®. They are seeking to cancel our trademarks, bully us into submission, and make us pay for the entire legal proceeding.
Up until now, I’ve remained quiet – as we’ve engaged in each step of the legal process. However, I’d like to share a bit behind the scenes of what fighting a David vs. Goliath lawsuit is actually like for small business entrepreneurs.
For context, I began IMPOSSIBLE ® in 2010. We have a suite of impossible trademarks (18!) that we’ve diligently registered over the years (you can find them all here). Impossible Foods – according to their own filing statements, didn’t begin until 2015.
In their lawsuit, they’re not just suing IMPOSSIBLE ® – but actually seeking to cancel our federally registered marks which pre-date theirs, requesting that their marks take priority over ours, and are requesting that we pay their legal fees for enduring this process.
Their claims have no basis in reality, are a blatant intellectual property land grab, and unfortunately are a classic case of law fare by a large multi-national company set on bullying smaller ones to hand over their legally registered intellectual property. They want to avoid the inconvenient facts of reality, by wasting everyone’s time and money in court.
I’ve been building IMPOSSIBLE for 11 years. We’ve built fitness programming, nutrition products, apparel and a whole lot more, but a huge part of it has always been sharing my story – from unemployment to starting my own business to running an ultra marathon on every continent in the world for charity. The message has been clear and consistent – you can change your life by pushing your limits and doing hard things – even when they seem impossible.
This will be no different.
I’ll be sharing updates as I can from here on out, as no entrepreneurs or small businesses should have to deal with multi-billion dollar companies attempting to stampede on their legally registered trademark rights simply because they think bullying a smaller business is the best way to get what they want.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela
p.s. Thank you for reading over the years. If you’d like to support, you can share this with 3 friends.
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You can also get an impossible shirt or support our non-profit work here.
Keep pushing your limits and do something impossible.
Update: Thank you for the support! This twitter thread in particular has been blowing up (30k views and counting).
Chris Guillebeau says
Hey Joel, sorry to hear about this. You’ve been doing the Impossible™️ for so long! I’m glad you’re fighting back for what you’ve built. Keep us posted!
Kevin Lloyd says
I’ll be wearing my just purchased Impossible cap in support of your efforts in winning this lawsuit. The irony of this “fit versus sick” contest is not lost on those of us who know that a challenging lifestyle coupled with real food nutrition is the key to a life well-lived.
Thanks for all you do to be an encouragement to us all and keep us posted.
Michelle Larsen says
Hey Joel, sorry to hear that you have to deal with this stress. I’ve been following you for years now, sharing the Impossible message to friends and family. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s rooting for you. I’m gonna share your message everywhere I can.
Furthermore, I’m making a point not to support Impossible food’s products (there are other plant-based meat options that have been around longer, too) from here on out. As a consumer, I have *never* confused the two of you, and can only imagine the reason they’re trying to push you out now is that they want to IPO in a year. Bad behemoth, bad!
In honor of Thanksgiving coming up, *thank you* for sharing your journey on the ‘net and generally being a really positive, inspiring dude that’s helped me be more consistent in approaching big dreams and hardships with curiosity and optimistic experimentation.
Fight the good fight!
I’m finding it impossible to believe they really sell food! The jargon is like a avalanche of nutrition free vocabulary. No thanks ImpossibleFoods! I’d rather eat potato chips deep fried in animal fat. It’s tasty and it has nutrition guaranteed.
Emily Robertson says
As a Canadian, owner of several Canadian federal trademarks, and mother of a lawyer: we have been dismayed by the trend in the US to weaponize the courts and force them to penalize (actively, or passively by delay tactics) one ‘side’ of an issue. Lobbyists rule! Judges, juries, law enforcement – everyone can be bought or twisted into submission. Good luck with your fight. If you don’t prevail in the US, you can move to Canada…