Author Suing Chobani Over Claim That It Ripped Off His Book For “How” Marketing Campaign

While there’s no way one person can have the sole rights to using certain words, like “how,” for example, one author going to battle with Chobani contends that the way those words are put together for marketing purposes should be protected from ripoffs.

Dov Seidman wrote “HOW: Why HOW We Do Anything Means Everything,” and said in a lawsuit filed in New York this week that Chobani boosted its current “how” marketing campaign from that book, reports the New York Daily News.

He and his company LRN own a federal trademark on the word and mark “HOW,” his suit says, noting that the business “business is based on promoting ethical corporate behavior.”

“HOW marks convey a clear and consistent meaning: that how an organization behaves matters,” the suit says, and thus, Chobani snagged its “Chobani — How Matters” campaign directly from that work.

Chobani claims that it’s all a coincidence, but Seidman said Chobani contacted him on Twitter back in January to thank him for “inspiring the world to care about ‘how,'” adding, “Can you help inspire the food industry, too?”

And by help, the suit claims that means launching a new branding platform “the very next day,” which “employs ‘HOW’ in precisely the same manner as plaintiffs employ their HOW marks: as a noun connoting responsible and ethical corporate behaviors.”

Chobani says in a statement:

“Mr. Seidman’s allegations are baseless and without merit. Chobani chose ‘How Matters’ as its platform because it represents what Chobani has always stood for, including its use of natural ingredients to make wholesome and nutritious food. Mr. Seidman does not own a trademark registration for “How Matters” and has never used that phrase as a trademark.”

Seidman is seeking a court order to end the campaign and unspecified money damages.

Author Dov Seidman sues Chobani for ‘how’ marketing ads that allegedly were taken from his book [New York Daily News]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.