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)

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.

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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