Trademark Law

Chobani is accused of violating 'how' trademark with its marketing campaign

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Chobani’s marketing phrase “how matters” is being challenged by an author and business consultant who says he has a trademark on the word “how.”

The plaintiff is Harvard law grad Dov Seidman, who helps businesses create ethical cultures, the New York Times reports. His book is How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything. His company, LRN, also uses “how matters” in some of its marketing materials.

Chobani is “using ‘how’ to convey and connote that they are an ethical company,” Seidman told the Times. “They are using ‘how’ exactly the way I use it. They’ve appropriated the foundation of my entire philosophy.”

He cites a tweet sent out by Chobani days before the Super Bowl, when the company launched its “How Matters” campaign. It read: “@DovSeidman: Thanks for inspiring the world to care about ‘how.’ Can you help inspire the food industry, too?”

Chobani’s ad agency, Droga5 says its creative team had never heard of Seidman and that the phrase “how matters” was dreamed up during a brainstorming session at a Thai restaurant. Chobani and Droga5 are also asking a court to cancel Seidman’s trademark registration for “how” because it is too broad.

Chobani and Droga5 could also win the case if they can show there is no possibility of consumer confusion between Chobani and Seidman, the Times says. The New York Post and the New York Daily News also covered the suit when it was filed in June.

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