Supreme Court Rules that Usage of “Shemesh” by Competing Restaurant is Kosher

The term Shemesh means sun. A Ramat Gan restaurantier called Menashe Naama has built up a reputation for quality shwarma (grilled meat shaved off a rotating grill) using the name Shemesh. TM 182114 issued for Shwarma Shemesh, and TM 129756 issued for a graphic logo including the word Shemesh, and TM 69183 for Mitamei  Shemesh (taste of the sun). 

The word mark disclaims the term Shwarma but appears to convey exclusive rights to the term Shemesh for class 43.  So thought Justice Yehuda Zaft of the Tel Aviv District Court, who noted that Naama had built up a reputation and issued an injunction against a competitor in Tel Aviv who changed his sign to read “Tasty Grill Shemesh Restaurant”.  

Surprisingly, Justice Asher Grunis of the Israel Supreme Court thinks that this is reasonable, and does not think that the trademark family with 20 years of use provides rights for shemesh that prevent it being used with terms like grill and restaurant that are certainly generic. The case has been referred back to the District Court.

Categories: Israel, Israel Court Ruling, Israel IP, Israel Trademark, Opinion, passing off

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