Amazon's Whole Foods Market is in a trademark battle with Israeli department store chain Hamashbir 365 Ltd. (TASE: MSBI). Amazon's health and organic foods supermarket chain, which it acquired in 2017 for $13.7 billion, first filed to register its commercial trademark with the Israel Patent Office in 2020.
The application was for a long list of 4,000 products including cosmetics and cleaning goods, pharmaceuticals and foods ranging from cereals and pastas to meat and cheese. After a series of amendments by Amazon's Whole Foods Market, the final application for trademark approval was submitted in September 2022. Whole Foods Market has over 400 branches in the US, Canada and UK.
But Whole Foods Market trademark is the number 365 in a large font in white on a black background with the name Whole Foods Market beneath in small letters. This clashes with Hamashbir, which has been using 365 as an exclusive trademark for decades. In 2022, the Israel Patent Office trademark department announced that although it does not believe that there is any suspicion of deception, it is giving Hamashbir the option to oppose the registration.
Hamashbir 365's loyalty club has 600,000 members and the CAL365 credit card has 200,000 holders. In the objection that Hamashbir submitted to the Israel Patent Office last January, tens of thousands of products sold online are detailed, and it is emphasized that the "365" mark has appeared as a prominent and central motif in its entire marketing campaign for years.
Hamashbir holds seven registered 365 trademarks in consumer areas such as department store chain management, retail services provided through stores, and the company's website.
Adv. Liron Koren, a partner at the S. Friedman Abramson & Co. law firm, which represents Hamashbir (together with Adv. Gavriel Disegni) explains that from the moment an application for trademark registration is received, the company has three years to use it - otherwise the application may be cancelled. According to Koren, when a company submits a request to register a mark on each and every product from such a large list of about 4,000 products, "it's a statement". A large part of the products are sold in Hamashbir's stores.
The firm adds, "The trend of foreign companies trying to launch operations in Israel while harming and ignoring the IP rights of long-established Israeli companies that have been operating in Israel for decades is well-known. Hamashbir Lezarchan has the right to protect its IP rights and to enjoy the fruits of its investments and the enormous reputation it has gained over many years in Israel."
The Seligsohn Gabrieli Group patent practice, which represents Amazon in Israel declined to comment on the report.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 6, 2023.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.