Monday, May 7, 2012

Christchurch Coffee Company - a clash of symbols

A Christchurch Coffee Company has caused some confusion - it's logo is almost identical to that of the Orthodox Union's symbol of Kashrut.

The "OU" Symbol is almost universally sought by Kosher travellers as a sign that food is produced to the standards of Kashrut.  But make no mistake, this is not a religious symbol, this is the symbol of a business. 

I feel some sympathy to the coffee company.  The Jewish community is virtually non-existent in Christchurch, and they probably had no idea that this was a registered trademark.  But ignorance is not really a defence - imagine if they used the Golden Arches, for example.

I'm sure that common sense can prevail, and Underground Coffee could modify their logo - perhaps to add Serif marks, or a "G" that makes it different enough to be easily distinguished.

More information listed here at Fairfax.  It's clear that damages are not being sought, but OU is a worldwide trademark.  If Underground started producing Coffee for supermarkets, or exporting, then this could be a major headache for consumers.

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