Bojangles’ International, the Charlotte-founded chicken and biscuits chain, filed a lawsuit Friday against Hardee’s Restaurants for trademark infringement because both restaurants sell biscuits featuring spicy “cajun” chicken.
The jingle “GOTTAWANNANEEDAGETTAHAVA” – the capitalization and lack of spaces are direct quotes from the lawsuit – is also part of the controversy between the two North Carolina-founded restaurants.
The problem began with a Hardee’s social media campaign at the end of June, according to a cease-and-desist letter sent by Bojangles’ vice president and general counsel Laura Roberts on June 30.
On June 29, the letter said, Hardee’s posted social media ads asking “Gotta Wanna Needa Getta Hava better Cajun Fillet Biscuit?” along with an emoji equation showing that Hardee’s biscuits involve fire, a chili pepper and a smiling, crying face.
The Facebook, Instagram and Twitter ads were all gone from Hardee’s pages on Monday, although one chicken-rivalry tweet without the inflammatory jingle remained.
Bojangles’ has been using the term “cajun filet biscuit” since at least 1986 and registered that term in October 2015, the lawsuit said. The term “cajun spiced chicken,” meanwhile, was registered by Bojangles’ in 1981, at the same time as the slogan “It’s cajun spiced.”
Bojangles’ started using “GOTTAWANNANEEDAGETTAHAVA” around 2003 and registered the trademark in 2011, the lawsuit said.
After the cease and desist letter, Hardee’s apparently cut the term “fillet” from the name of its biscuit, renaming it “Cajun Chicken Biscuit” online, the lawsuit said.
The name change didn’t satisfy Bojangles’, which argued its customers will still be confused by the similar names.
The lawsuit demands that Hardee’s stop using variations on the term “cajun chicken biscuit” and pay Bojangles’ all its profits from the infringing trademarks, along with damages and attorneys’ fees.