Eating my words

I do it sometimes. In my case, they’re particularly tasty, and sometimes even tasteful.

Definitely not tasteful, not tasty — not even edible, if “kosher” means anything (which judges refuse to admit it does).

And why do I have to eat my words? The case involves the unauthorized use of the Kof-K* kosher symbol (a certification mark) by a dirty-movie maker. He put the mark on the cover of his ethnically-oriented dirty movie. “Perhaps a tad sacrilegious, thought Mr. Cohen [oy — ed.], the owner of [the dirty-movie company], but nothing an observant Jew would confuse with permission from a rabbi to view pornographic material,” says the Times. Sounds like pretty good trademark infringement reasoning: No LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION, no infringement!

Rack one up for trademark dilution, at least where the argument comes from tarnishment — one of the two kinds of dilution, the other being blurring. I think that’s a pretty good use of trademark law. So what do you say I paint this corner here ju-u-u-st so… I’m now only against trademark dilution based on blurring. Dilution based on tarnishment — which is rarely used, in my experience, in simple trademark abuse by Big IP — is OK.

*CORRECTED AND DIGESTED: Every kosher konsumer I know calls this symbol the khof-K, not the Kof-K, because a khof (the kh is pronounced like the ch in “loch,” the Scottish word for “lake” — what can I tell you, it’s not an English sound! But loch is kind of an English word, whereas our Chanuka — pronounced khanuka — in English, just becomes Hanukkah!) is what a kof is born as until you put a dot in it. By the Kof-K’s lights a miniature “K” is a dot, when you use it like dot. Trademark implications of this factoid? Probably none.

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Author:Ron Coleman

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6 Responses to “Eating my words”

  1. January 30, 2007 at 5:18 am #

    Really like the site. I am a barrister over in England and have added a link on The Barrister Blog at http://timkevan.blogspot.com. There is quite a legal blogging community over here as you will see from my blog roll. Reciprocal link always appreciated, though no worries if not.

    Keep in touch. Best wishes, Tim Kevan

  2. January 30, 2007 at 4:31 pm #

    Tim, thank you. My policy is when a legitimate blog adds me to its blogroll, I reciprocate — the heart of the blogrolling concept and, of course, the very height of professional courtesy!

  3. M.A.
    January 30, 2007 at 9:59 pm #

    It’s a “kof” WITH the dot, “khof” without the dot. See, e.g., http://www.jewfaq.org/alephbet.htm

    Also, they use that particular letter for a reason: it’s the first letter in the Hebrew word for “kosher” (actually pronounced more like “ka-SHARE” in Hebrew). So it’s definitely a “kof.”

    Who are these kosher konsumer friends of yours? Did they go to Hebrew school?

    On another note, I was unable to find any registrations at USPTO.gov for kof-k. Is it perhaps unregistered? Or do I just not know how to search properly? (Hebrew school for you, Trademarks class for me).

  4. Anonymous Jew
    January 30, 2007 at 11:28 pm #

    Actually you have it backwards — as a bilingually-raised Jew I can tell you with some authority that “kaf” has the dot, and “khaf” (not “khof”) lacks the dot. The absence of the dot always indicates a soft sound (a fricative, in linguistic terms), while the presence of the dot indicates a hard consonant, both at the same “place” of articulation on your mouth. Pairings include:

    kaf (dot); khaf (no dot) — both velar consonants
    pe (dot); fe (no dot) — both labial consonants
    bet (dot); vet (no dot) — both alveolar consonants

    Also, I would write “kaf”/”khaf”, not “kof”/”khof”, to distinguish the letter in question from “qoph,” which is another letter entirely but is pronounced the same as “kaf” in modern Hebrew.

    Perhaps they call it the “khaf-k” instead o the “kaf-k” because the symbol is a dotless khaf plus a small k, not a dotted kaf plus an additional small k. Anyhow, I see how the nomenclature could go either way.

    All that said, interesting post!

  5. January 31, 2007 at 1:56 am #

    I also grew up with aleph-bais and I simply had too many osios in the air when I wrote that — perhaps complicated by the fact that I’m in Israel right now and I’m pretty flummoxed by the experience in general! It’s been corrected.  The first letter of “kosher” is a “kof” (as they spell it) but as you know that’s a fairly fluid concept once a letter is allowed to flow free.  We might well ask again of the Holy Tongue, “Who is like you?” if you catch my drift.

    There may not be a Kof-K registration, though I’ll look, too. If there isn’t, they are not entitled to federal dilution protection, but in many states they are protected.

  6. Sarah
    January 31, 2007 at 9:56 am #

    Anonymous Jew,

    Are you a Speech Pathologist? I had to smile when I read your post; it was a good refresher! 🙂