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At Heart of Unusual Lawsuit: The Word 'How'

Chobani yogurt in trademark feud with business-ethics guru
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2014 4:09 PM CDT
At Heart of Unusual Lawsuit: The Word 'How'
Chobani and Dov Seidman both believe "how" matters.   (John Minchillo/AP Images for Chobani)

(Newser) – A business-ethics expert is at war with a yogurt company, and the word "how" is at stake. Dov Seidman, a bestselling author who pushes for companies with a conscience, focuses his campaigns on "how" business is done; he's got a trademark on the word. Chobani yogurt is also invested in "how"—in its case, how food is made. Company slogan "how matters" is a phrase Seidman has also used, and he's not happy. Now, he's suing the company, along with its ad agency, to halt the yogurt's "how" campaign, the New York Times reports.

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Chobani and ad agency Droga5 say they've never even heard of Seidman, and they want the court to cancel Seidman's trademark on the word; they argue that the word is too generic for such a trademark. Seidman says Chobani has indeed heard of him: He met with Droga5's vice chairman last year, before Chobani's "how" campaign began. Seidman also notes that before the campaign launched, the company tweeted, "@DovSeidman Thanks for inspiring the world to care about 'how.'" "They’ve appropriated the foundation of my entire philosophy," Seidman says. (Read more Dov Seidman stories.)

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