The RCC has sued Schwartz’s Bakery (SchwartzBakeryLA.com) in U.S. District Court. The RCC alleges that Schwartz’s Bakery has fraudulently put RCC hashgacha (kosher) stickers on its product since 2013.
“That’s a blatant fraud on the community,” says one macher. “This is the new face of the RCC. They’re taking their position seriously.”
The RCC is going after all of Schwartz Bakery profits since 2013 based on the illegal trademark infringement.
Trademark infringements are the exclusive domain of U.S. District courts.
According to SchwartzBakeryLA.com: “We are currently certified under Kehilla Kosher, any publication or marketing materials with RCC logo is a mistake and/or misrepresentation. We can now cater in both Shaarei Tefila and Beth Jacob”
Here is a copy of the Complaint with Exhibits.
Plaintiff Rabbinical Council of California (“RCC”) brings this complaint against defendants Jakma, Inc., dba Schwartz Bakery, Elizabeth Hecht dba Schwartz Bakery and Mark Hecht dba Schwartz Bakery (collectively, “Schwartz”) based on Schwartz’s ongoing willful and fraudulent efforts to profit from the use of RCC’s logo by placing its logo on Schwartz’s food packaging and advertisements without RCC’s permission…
11. RCC is the largest body of Orthodox Rabbis in the Western
United States. Its seventy members serve as pulpit Rabbis ministering to congregations and heads of educational institutions. These Rabbis directly serve an estimated six thousand families, and network with a far greater population in both the Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewish communities.
12. RCC has expended considerable time and effort to build its
reputation for endorsing and certifying certain Kosher products and
purveyors. In order to receive this endorsement and certification, a company must enter into a contract with RCC whereby RCC monitors and inspects the company’s manufacturing facilities for strict compliance with all Kashrus and Halachic regulations. These regulations determine the ingredients and manufacturing processes used in food production to ensure they comply with Jewish religious dietary law, known as Kashrus (Kosher) or Halacha.
RCC also analyzes all records pertaining to the sources of the company’s supplies. A company may not substitute any ingredients without the specific written approval of RCC. All ready-made products sold or used at the company’s place of business must be acceptable as Kosher under reliable supervision as decided upon by the RCC. Finally, the company must observe all Jewish law in its operation.
13. As a food supervisory organization, RCC has created a logo to
signify its efforts and brand (“RCC Logo”)…
14. On or about January 3, 2007, RCC and Schwartz entered into a
contract (“Contract”) for food supervision services. Attached hereto as
Exhibit 2 is a true and correct copy of the Contract… among other things, that RCC would supervise the Kashrus of Schwartz’s products in exchange for a quarterly certification fee. Additionally, the Contract provided that all “food prepared for outside use shall be packaged
in a matter guaranteeing [its] Kashrus and shall bear an insignia of The RCC.” (Contract, ¶ 14.) In the event of termination of the Contract, Schwartz was required to immediately cease using any form of RCC endorsement and either destroy any packaging bearing the RCC Logo or remove the RCC Logo from said packaging. (Contract, ¶ 27.)
15. After January 3, 2007, RCC and Schwartz entered into oral
agreements (“Oral Agreements”) for RCC’s supervision of the “Kashrus” of Schwartz’s other establishments located at 1730 Cordova Street, Los Angeles, California 90007; 7113 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90036; 12430 Montague Street, Suite 230, Pacoima, California 91331; 12519 Burbank Boulevard, Valley Village, California 91607 and; 433 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90036 (collectively, the “Establishments”).
16. In May 2013, Schwartz terminated the Contract and Oral
Agreements and refused to pay to RCC $825.00 that Schwartz owed from
Invoice Nos. 17306, 17318, 17404, 17416, 17420 and 17663 (“Invoices”) for RCC’s past services rendered.
In May 2013, July 2013 and October 2013, the RCC’s Rabbi Nissim
Davidi repeatedly admonished Schwartz to stop using the RCC Logo;
however, Schwartz failed to comply.
18. On February 13, 2014, RCC demanded that Schwartz cease and
desist Schwartz’s illegal use of the RCC Logo on Schwartz’s products,
advertisements, website and on property signage.
19. On April 7, 2014, RCC for the second time demanded that
Schwartz cease and desist Schwartz’s illegal uses of the RCC Logo on
Schwartz’s products, advertisements, website and on property signage.
On February 12, 2015, RCC again demanded that Schwartz
discontinue any use of the RCC Logo or name on Schwartz’s property, food packaging and advertisements, but Schwartz has refused to comply.
21. Schwartz continues to use the RCC logo on its food packaging
and advertisements and on its property at multiple of its establishments. A true and correct copy of such illegal uses is attached hereto as Exhibit 3…
26. Schwartz continues to reproduce and use the RCC Logo on its
property and as part of its food packaging.
27. Schwartz’s conduct is deceitful, has caused confusion and
continues to pose a likelihood of causing mistake among a substantial
segment of the public because consumers have believed and continue to
believe that Schwartz’s food products are sponsored or approved by RCC.
28. Schwartz’s deception is material, because whether Schwartz’s
food products complied with RCC standards and Kashrus regulations would
be a fact of consequence to consumers.
29. Schwartz caused its false representations about the quality of its
foods to enter commerce through its use of the RCC Logo on its food
packaging and on its property.
30. RCC has been and is likely to be injured as a result of Schwartz’s
false representations by a direct diversion of RCC’s ability to commercially exploit its exclusive trademark in the RCC Logo. RCC’s reputation and goodwill have been compromised by Schwartz’s illegal use of the RCC Logo as it is likely to mislead the public into believing Schwartz’s products are endorsed by the RCC.
31. Schwartz had full knowledge that its uses of the RCC Logo were
illegal and unauthorized, yet proceeded despite several warnings to cease and desist. Schwartz obtained substantial profits through the sales of food products by falsely advertising that RCC endorsed and supervised Schwartz’s products.
32. Accordingly, Schwartz has engaged in trademark infringement in
violation of Section 32 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1114, and is liable to RCC for all damages related thereto, including but not limited to actual damages, infringing profits and/or statutory damages, as well as costs and attorney’s fees.
33. Schwartz’s egregious conduct in its illegal use of the RCC Logo
was willful and intentional, and this constitutes an exceptional case. Under 15 U.S.C. § 1117, RCC is entitled to its attorney’s fees.
34. RCC has been, and unless enjoined by this Court will continue to
be, damaged and irreparably harmed by Schwartz’s acts of trademark
LA’s Orthodox Jewish community has a lot of tolerance for misbehavior, incuding by its rabbis, but it is very strict with its kosher food.
Are there a significant number of Jews in LA who hold by RCC kosher but not by Kehilla Kosher?
Link: Defendant: Does, Elizabeth Hecht, Mark Hecht and Jakma, Inc.
Plaintiff: Rabbinical Council of California
Case Number: 2:2015cv04620
Filed: June 18, 2015
Court: California Central District Court
Presiding Judge: Manuel L. Real
Referring Judge: Alka Sagar
Nature of Suit: Trademark
The judge in this case, Manuel L. Real, has a bad reputation.