Amazon’s Whole Foods Market is in a trademark battle with Israeli department store chain Hamashbir 365 Ltd. (TASE: MSBI). Amazon’s natural and organic food supermarket chain, which it acquired in 2017 for $13.7 billion, first applied to register its trademark with the Israel Trademark Office. patents in 2020.
The request covered a long list of 4,000 products, including cosmetics and cleaning products, pharmaceuticals and foods ranging from cereals and pasta 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 United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
But the Whole Foods Market brand is number 365 in a large white font on a black background with the Whole Foods Market name in lowercase. This conflicts with Hamashbir, which has used 365 as its exclusive brand for decades. In 2022, the Israel Patent Office Trademark Department announced that although it does not believe there is any suspicion of deception, it is giving Hamashbir the opportunity to oppose the registration.
Hamashbir 365 loyalty club has 600,000 members and CAL365 credit card has 200,000 holders. In the objection that Hamashbir submitted to the Israeli Patent Office last January, tens of thousands of products sold online are detailed, and it is pointed out that the “365” mark appeared as a prominent and central motif in his entire marketing campaign for years.
Hamashbir owns seven 365 trademarks in consumer areas such as department store chain management, retail services provided by stores and the company’s website.
Adv. Liron Koran, a partner at the law firm S. Friedman Abramson & Co., which represents Hamashbir (along with attorney Gavriel Disegni) explains that from the moment a trademark application is received, the company has three years to use it – otherwise the application can be cancelled. According to Coran, when a company submits an application to register a trademark on each of the products in such a long list of around 4,000 products, “it is a declaration”. A large part of the products are sold in shops in Hamashbir.
The company adds: “The tendency of foreign companies to attempt to launch operations in Israel while undermining and ignoring the intellectual property 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 intellectual property rights and enjoy the fruits of its investments and the enormous reputation it has acquired over the years in Israel.”
The Seligsohn Gabrieli Group patent practice, which represents Amazon in Israel, declined to comment on the report.