A historic Shelbyville, Kentucky mansion and restaurant is up for sale, but because it once belonged to Colonel Sanders — yes, the Kentucky Fried Chicken guy — a potential legal battle awaits whoever buys it.
Page Six reports the 25,000 square foot, 63-year-old Claudia Sanders Dinner House, as well as a 5,000-square-foot private residence known as Blackwood Hall, once belonged to the white-suited chicken pitchman and his wife, but its sale has lawyers for KFC’s parent YUM! Brands on alert.
The publication says the attorneys are trying to protect the Colonel’s image and likeness as KFC’s own pitch-person — the real Colonel Harland Sanders died in 1980 at age 94, and his widow Claudia passed at 90 in 1994.
However, the restaurant that bears her name, as well as the mansion, were left to operate by family friends who now want to sell.
Lawyers for YUM! Brands, the umbrella company that also owns Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, had in the past analyzed the recipes sold at the restaurant to ensure they didn’t encroach on KFC’s famous “secret blend of 11 herbs and spices,” and now, any potential sale of the eatery is being scrutinized to make sure it’s not capitalizing on their “finger lickin’ good” trademarks.
The real estate agent handling the sale, Jonathan Klunk of Six Degrees Real Estate, tells Page Six it’s a “very unique situation,” because “We are selling Claudia and she doesn’t have as much name recognition as her husband, but a buyer can’t describe her without mentioning both her husband and KFC.”
“If you want to use the Claudia Sanders brand, you have to have a team of intellectual property lawyers,” Klunk warns.