Dixie Diner Founder Bob Beeley denies attempt to trademark “Eco-Atkins”
Developments in the emerging Dixie Diner “Eco-Atkins”-gate scandal that erupted last Tuesday continued today when its founder and chairman took direct aim at my columns exposing his attempt to use the good Atkins name under a perverted term meant only to capitalize on the successful branding created by the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins. You’ll recall I told you about the possible legal ramifications that Tomball, TX-based Dixie Diner would face attempting to trademark the term “Eco-Atkins” and using this in the marketing of their low-fat, low-carb food products as well as the subsequent stern response from Atkins Nutritionals (who was completely unaware of this attempt to trademark “Eco-Atkins” before I told them about it) stating their legal department would be handling this immediately.
Well, it appears the Atkins Nutritionals attorneys laid down the law over the past few days.
Here’s the “Eco-Atkins” logo that appeared on Dixie’s web site last week
While the “Eco-Atkins” logo and marketing was prominently displayed front and center at the official Dixie Diner web site last week and as late as Sunday afternoon, today there is nary a mention of the term anywhere on the Dixie Diner home page except in this press release about the June 2009 study where researchers first coined the term. It appears the web site has been scrubbed clean of any references to “Eco-Atkins,” although if you Google “Dixie Diner” and “Eco-Atkins” you’ll still see it showing up in the cached for the web site stating proudly “Dixie has over 230 products that fit with the Eco-Atkins™ diet.” They were already bragging about the “Eco-Atkins” name and using the trademark logo behind it–evidence of their full intent to use in commerce.
Today, Dixie Diner Founder and Chairman Bob Beeley backpedaled from his previous comments when he stated to retailers last week that “Dixie has adopted (and registered) the moniker ‘ECO-ATKINS’ and will begin using it on many of its low carb products.” But now he’s singing a different tune going into full spin mode about what his intentions were using “Eco-Atkins” to market his products taking direct aim at what was written about this issue by me at “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb.”
“Contrary to inflammatory opinions recently published [at "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb"], Dixie is not using the ['Eco-Atkins'] mark in commerce, and has no intentions of ‘plastering it on the front packaging of their hundreds of mostly soy-based food products.’ Except for brief test marketing pieces, the mark has not been used by Dixie, even though the U.S. Patent and Trademark office granted us a formal registration. It was the brief testing of the name that has caused the confusion,” Beeley contended in a follow-up e-mail to various online retailers that carry the Dixie Diner product line.
What is “inflammatory” about telling the truth about what you were doing, Bob? You most certainly were and still are using the term “Eco-Atkins” in marketing your products as evidenced on your company Twitter page (you better hurry up and read the tweets before these get scrubbed too!). Here’s a screen shot of several Twitter posts where “Eco-Atkins” has been used to promote and sell various Dixie Diner products:
Notice how Dixie Diner sucks up to the vegan/vegetarian community, but couldn’t care less about the low-carb community in these tweet updates. By the way, Beeley’s flimsy excuse for using the term “Eco-Atkins” is that it is already being used everywhere online as evidenced by the fact that “a Google search for ‘Eco-Atkins’ returns more than 123,000 links.” Big whoop-di-freakin’-doo, Bob! Most of those links aren’t flashing a trademarked logo or pointing to a commerce web site attempting to use the Atkins name to make money off of the products they sell like Dixie Diner is doing. And to now say you were merely “test marketing” the “Eco-Atkins” name when you had full intentions of using it proudly on the product packaging is being dishonest and deceitful. Did you already forget that you told retailers in a previous e-mail that “Dixie adopted (and registered) the moniker ‘ECO-ATKINS’ and will begin using it on many of its low carb products” less than one week ago? Surely you jest attempting to say otherwise now?
In an obvious act of mea culpa for even attempting to co-opt the Atkins name in marketing their products, Beeley stated that he has no personal beef (because he doesn’t like meat, ya know?) with Atkins Nutritionals.
“We have no intention of or desire to offend or interfere with Atkins Nutritionals,” he stated. “We have not, and will not, knowingly do anything to tarnish the reputation of the Atkins’ products, Dr. Atkins, or the movement that he founded.”
Well, you’re a little too late on that front, Bob! You already have offended, interfered, and tarnished the reputation of Atkins by pretending that Dr. Atkins himself would EVER approve of your inferior low-fat, low-carb foods. The Atkins diet has always been and will always be a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carb lifestyle change. If you are promoting anything else besides that, then it’s NOT Atkins. Calling what you do “Eco-Atkins” is downright irresponsible and criminal at best and Dr. Atkins would most certainly not be pleased with your use of his name in the promotion of your Dixie Diner line of products.
The right thing to do is admit that you made a mistake attempting to hijack the Atkins name, apologize to the low-carb community for doing so, and find another way to get the word out about your low-fat, low-carb products. You didn’t do that which makes your actions all the more appalling. I have a feeling you’ve already heard from quite a few customers within the low-carb community who are extremely disappointed in your shameful actions, but I want you to hear from a few more. You can call Dixie Diner and ask for Bob Beeley by dialing them toll-free in Texas at 1-800-233-3668 or drop them an e-mail at email@example.com. Tell Bob to admit he was wrong. If you are upset about this, then make your voice heard! Companies like Dixie Diner must be held accountable for making such idiotic business decisions.