Israel Ruling on trademarks for slogans

The Deputy Commissioner for patents and trademarks, Noach Shalev Shmulovich, has issued a ruling concerning three slogans, two filed in name of Shufersal (sometimes mispronounced as Supersol) a chain of Israel supermarkets, and a third mark, filed in name of Gidron.

The two Shufersal marks were as follows: “Your money buys more” and “Because time is a valuable commodity”.  They were both canceled as not being indicative of the source of goods.

The Gidron mark “Gidron -bakes freshness for you” was allowed with disclaimers for the words freshness and baked.

COMMENT

The decision is clear and well written. It is also perfectly reasonable.

Before citing US Law on the Issue (specifically Mc Carthy on trademarks and Unfair Competition), the Deputy Commissioner of Patents cited the Talmudic dictum regarding Japhet (Noah’s third son, believed to have sired European nations, particularly Greece – dwelling in the tent of Shem – Semitic ancestor of the Jewish people). The attribution of the native Americans to any of Noah’s sons was, of course, outside the scope of the Talmudists who were unaware of the New World. The relative proportions of European and Jewish influence in the development of American trademark law is an open question. Nevertheless, I for one, am always happy to see a citation from the Jewish sources in a patent office ruling. 

Surprisingly, however, earlier Israel decisions regarding slogans were not cited.

I would have thought that before citing foreign law, no matter how persuasive, and before citing Talmudic dicta of dubious relevance, an Israel decision should relate to Israeli precedents. Preferably, it should follow same. In this regard, Dr. Noam, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks issued a Circular on the subject (M.N. 29) and subsequently ruled on “Do what feels good” – a slogan filed by Coca Cola that wasn’t allowed as lacking inherent distinctiveness – See Decision from 2006 re IL 171183-171187. Indeed, Shmulovich himself has addressed the issue in the past – albeit not convincingly – see 187420 – “a diamond in your pocket” – which was generic, descriptive, a slogan and non-indicative of source of goods, but was nevertheless allowed.

Both the diamond and the “Do what feels good”Coca Cola decisions cited earlier rulings. Why doesn’t this one?



Categories: Israel Trademark, trademarks

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