The Center for Realizing Medical Rights LTD filed Israel trademark 243620 for the words “?חלית? נפצעת” ‘י” which mean “Have you become ill? Have you Been Injured?”. The company has a very well known campaign that starts with these words and then continues “for non-legal advice, contact…”.
The Israel Law Bar consider that the The Center for Realizing Medical Rights LTD, which employs licensed attorneys at law but is not a law firm, is illegally and unacceptably competing with them as they consider that only they or a closed list of registered and licensed professionals including accountants, tax consultants, patent attorneys, and the like, have the right to represent clients on legal issues before various government bodies such as the National Insurance and Tax offices, the patent office and the like.
The position of the Israel Bar is, of course, driven by self interest, but arguments are used such as the fact that as it is a limited company, the Center for Realizing Medical Rights LTD can default on obligations, whereas a lawyer has unlimited liability.
“My Rights – Realizing Medical Rights, LTD.”, another similar service provider with dubious legality and the Israel Bar both filed opposition to the mark. Perhaps oddly, the opponents agreed to join their oppositions.
The Applicant refused to allow the procedures to be combined arguing that to do so would not prevent contradictory rulings. The Israel Bar objects to the list of goods and My Rights objects to the mark as being generic, and the basic facts of the two opponents are also different.
The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Bracha, ruled that courts have the authority to combine proceedings under Regulation 520 of the Civil Court Procedure 1984. The President of the Supreme Court can also combine different cases with different plaintiffs and order the lower courts to consider such cases in parallel. The Trademark Regulations 1940 do not have a similar regulation but the underlying logic is the same and the parties each accept that the Patent and Trademark Office can Combine Trademark Oppositions. The question is one of whether, in the current case, it is appropriate to do so.
The prime justification for combining cases is to save the court’s time. Despite the fact that so doing is not to the Applicant’s liking, only one opposition need succeed for the mark to be canceled. There is sufficient overlap in terms of grounds for refusing the mark that may be brought by the opposers, for the Patent and Trademark Office to combine the proceedings and have one hearing instead of two.
The Applicant further argued that some of his evidence was trade secrets that should not be published and made available to both opponents. The Court ruled that as when this became applicable they would rule on each alleged trade secret separately.
In conclusion, The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Jacqueline Bracha ruled that the proceedings should be combined and gave the opponents two months to submit evidence with future deadlines following the 1940 Trademark regulations.
We note that Glasberg & Applebaum who are representing the Applicants are taking on their professional representative organization. We applaud them for this. The Applicant is entitled to legal representation and we rely on their lawyers to provide this. We believe that the arguments as to the legality of the applicants’ services should be tackled head on by the Israel Law Bar and not in a trademark opposition. Nevertheless, we wait to see how this develops.
Second comment. Man Walked into a Bar. Ouch. Wounded? Injured? phone…