A trademark used by OU, the Union of Orthodox Congregations of America, since 1926 has been the subject of a court case in Christchurch in New Zealand in which a similar logo brands a coffee roasting company.
The OU logo, a capital “U” inside a circle has been in the public arena in New Zealand on Starbucks coffee packaging since 1998 according to media reports. New Zealand’s Business Day says that evidence detailing the use of the logo by Starbucks is new but the Union failed have the it admitted as evidence as the cutoff date for submissions had passed.
Proceedings began in 2009 when the OU alerted the Underground Coffee company in Christchurch advising them that their logo was in use on over 500,000 products across the world acknowledging that they are Kosher and that the usage of Underground Coffee logo, in use since 2003, is “likely to deceive or cause confusion”.
The OU told media they had no wish to harm the coffee company but they had to protect those who relied on the OU symbol to ensure they were using kosher goods.