In an interference proceedings regarding registerig identical trademarks for “Thank God it’s Friday” and for Lemon in various combinations and graphic designs, the Israel Arbitrator of Patents and Trademarks, Noach Shalev Shmulovich has ruled in favour of the Yissachar Golan the second applicant, rejecting Oren Rosenberg, the first applicant.
Apparently the two applicants were in business together and split up, and the ruling represents the contractual rights of both sides.
The decision is interested for a number of reasons:
- The arbitrator ruled in favor of the second applicant
- First applicant was represented by Amir Freidman, an IP expert, whereas second applicant was represented by a lawyer not well known as an IP expert, and
- Shmulovich decided to start his ruling quoting the first Mishna of Baba Mezia about two parties holding a prayer shawl, each claiming ownership. In that case, the classic Jewish Civil Law Ruling is to share the rights. In this case, Shmulovich felt that sharing is inappropriate.
I actually disagree to the extent that were the arbitrator to decide that two parties have equal rights to a mark but nevertheless had to make a decision to prevent confusion by public, say, then at least theoretically the goods could be moniterized and the worth divided between parties.
It was pleasing to see the Israel Patent Office quoting the Jewish sources though.