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8 October 2014Trademarks

Chobani ‘how’ dispute set for pre-trial hearing

An author and a yoghurt maker battling over the use of the word ‘how’ as a trademark are set to go to court next month.

Dov Seidman, author of How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything, and Chobani LLC will attend a pre-trial hearing on November 11.

In June, WIPR  reported that Seidman had accused Chobani’s ‘How Matters’ advertising campaign of infringing a series of trademarks featuring the word ‘how’ that were used in reference to the 2007 book.

The lawsuit, initially filed in June at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, was in response to a Super Bowl advertising campaign by Chobani that used the slogan.

New York-based Chobani accused Seidman of making over-broad claims and said his trademark registrations, which included variations such as ‘How is the Answer’ and ‘The How Report’, were invalid.

Ahead of the November meeting, Seidman told The New York Times he had “introduced the word into the corporate realm” and changed its usage from adverb to noun.

“They’re [Chobani] using ‘how’ to convey and connote that they are an ethical company,” he said.

“They are using ‘how’ exactly the way I use it. They’ve appropriated the foundation of my entire philosophy.”

The case is expected to go to a full trial in 2015.

This is not the first time Chobani has been involved in litigation.

Last year Chobani, founded by a Turk in the US in 2005, was told by the English High Court that it could not label its products ‘Greek Yoghurt’ following a long-running dispute with Greek company FAGE.

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More on this story

6 June 2014   Best-selling author Dov Seidman has filed a trademark infringement suit against Greek yoghurt company Chobani.