Published On: Tue, Jul 2nd, 2013

OU Kosher Takes Action to Prevent Trademark Infringement

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/ By Itzhak Dannon /

The company OU Kashruth, the Israeli representative of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations in America, sued the food manufacturer Better & Different (B & D) for trademark infringement, seeking injunctive and monetary relief, the latter in the amount of NIS200,000 (just under $55,000 at today’s rate).

oukosher.logoThe lawsuit alleges that plaintiff provides Israeli food factories, mainly for their export needs, services designed to insure that their products are kosher.  It states that it is the owner of a global brand trademark which indicates the food is kosher in accord with the Jewish halacha (amalgam of religious law).  The trademark is the letter “U” encircled by the letter “O”.

According to the plaintiff, defendant used its trademark, it appearing on the packaging of its B&D’s products.  For such use, during the year 2012, defendant was invoiced for the sum of NIS9,442 ($2,734) which was not paid.  At the beginning of March of this year plaintiff’s representatives conferred with defendant’s and the latter represented, that for two years the defendant has not been using plaintiff’s trademark on its products.

However, examinations conducted recently at various supermarkets across the country discovered many of defendant’s products bearing plaintiff’s trademark, some with an additional indication that the product is kosher for Passover.  The dates of production indicating these were made during 2012-2013 — in complete contravention of defendant’s representations.

The lawsuit also claims that till the end of May 2013 defendant’s website contained a representation that the defendant is still enjoying the plaintiff’s services and it still lists plaintiff as a provider of kosher services.

According to the plaintiff’s legal representative, attorney Zvi  Areli, defendant violates his client’s intellectual property rights by embedding the trademark on products it manufactures and by marketing its products under pretence that they are subject to plaintiff’s supervision.

Accordingly, the court is asked to prohibit defendant from presenting or marketing its products with the trademark imprinted thereon, to have the infringing packaging destroyed and to collect back the product bearing the trademark from stores to which it has been distributed.  In addition, the court is asked to order the defendant to pay the fees required for the use of the trademark during the past three years and to compensate the plaintiff without proof of damage for use of infringing the trademark.

4 comments
jewishbusiness
jewishbusiness moderator

Hope we make you happy. 

It is still not the best headline... 

Saul Mender
Saul Mender

@jewishbusiness It's a lousy headline.  The original one was perfect. Please don't let the Steiners of this world intimidate you


stevesteiner
stevesteiner

The headline on this story would be blatantly anti-Semitic if this were not a Jewish publication.  Even so, it smacks of the anti-Semitic stereotype that  Jews care only about money.  OU Kosher treats violations of its trademark very seriously.  When people buy a product with the OU Kosher symbol on it, it is their guarantee that the product reflects the highest level of kosher standards worldwide and that they can use  it with complete trust.  Companies that affix the OU without the OU's supervision are not only engaged in a financial fraud, but in spiritual fraud as well.  

Despite what the headline says, the $55,000 will NOT make the product kosher.  It will, however, let the company know that the Orthodox Union will not accept fraudulent use of its highly esteemed and universally trusted OU symbol.

I request  that you change the headline at once. I suggest, "OU Kosher Takes Action to Prevent Trademark Infringement."


Stephen Steiner 

Director of Public Relations

Orthodox Union

New York, NY

Saul Mender
Saul Mender

@stevesteiner  I am a proud Jew (and Israeli) and have a problem with this jerk reaction by Stephen Steiner, seeing anti-Antisemitism where it's not.  The fact that there may be an "anti-Semitic stereotype that  Jews care only about money" does not change the fact that OU was seeking compensation for improper use of its label.  While OU complains that its logo was used inappropriately, i.e., for its use without actually employing the company's services,"the court is asked to order the defendant to pay the fees required for the use of the trademark during the past three years and to compensate the plaintiff without proof of damage for use of infringing the trademark."  


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