The Case of the Kosher Symbol that is Non-Kosher
The Orthodox Union, whose OU symbol is widely known as a certification for food that has been strictly inspected to satisfy Jewish dietary laws, is suing the Luke Oil Company for using a look-alike OU logo at its convenience stores.
Luke Oil drew up the logo, with its name appearing along side the letter “O” with the letter “U” inside it, as part of its ”serving you” campaign. However, it is virtually the same symbol that the OU uses on thousands of food products that are kosher.
Luke Oil's convenience stores “clearly are not kosher…, and I don't know how or why Luke Oil decided to start using the patented mark in its new branding activity," according to David Butler, the attorney for the Orthodox Union.
The OU filed a suit against trademark infringement the day after Luke Oil showed off its new logo. Luke Oil vice president Tom Collins responded, "We're just working towards a common ground where everyone's happy."
Luke Oil officials said a compromise is being worked with the Orthodox Union, but Butler told media in Indiana, where Luke Oil is based, "We had several exchanges with the company and one with their lawyer telling us they were going to give us their proposal. "They gave us nothing, and we had no choice but to file [a lawsuit]."
The company apparently has removed the symbol from its website, which notifies viewers, “This site is currently under construction.”
The courts have not yet ruled on the case.