Behind Fox’s latest report, last week, on receiving the franchise of the Greek JUMBO network in Israel, lies a stubborn battle over the network’s trademark – which, according to the terms of the deal, a loss in it, could completely torpedo it. On September 24, Fox published a supplementary report on the transaction, at the request of the Securities Authority, stating that “as part of the transaction, the company may cancel the agreement if circumstances exist as defined and stipulated in the agreement … including prevention related to the ability to use Jumbo’s trademark in Israel.” .
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Fox further wrote that “in this context it should be noted that JUMBO has submitted to the Registrar of Trademarks an application for registration of a registered trademark which has been received and is open for objections until 30.9.20. It should also be noted that after JUMBO’s application was received, applications were submitted by a third party for the registration of designed trademarks, including the word JUMBO, which are still being examined. ‘ The third party targeted by Fox is the Israeli Jumbo Stock network, and a Calcalist investigation reveals that the patent registrar informed both parties that their applications were frozen until they reached an understanding or, in the absence of consent, until a hearing was held at the end of which the authority would decide.
What is behind the few details that Fox released in her post a week ago? An examination of the chain of events reveals that the Greek JUMBO applied to the Registrar of Trademarks at the Patent Authority as early as 11.6 and its application for registration of the JUMBO mark was received on 24.6. Following this, the Registrar of Signs publicly announced on 30.6 that the application had been accepted and that it could be appealed until 30.9.20, ie until yesterday. On September 9, the Israeli Jumbo Stock chain contacted the Registrar of Trademarks and asked to register three trademarks including the name JUMBO. Although the chain has been operating in Israel since 2015, it has not registered a trademark so far.
Four days later, on September 13, the trademark department of the Patent Registrar contacted Herzog Fox’s office. loyal Co., which represents the Greek JUMBO in Israel and informed him that “further examination of the mark shows that your application is unregisterable.” This is because under section 29 of the Trademarks Ordinance “similar / identical applications were submitted for the same goods or services from the same fence.” These are requests from the Israeli Jumbo Stock that were submitted 4 days earlier. According to the letter, “If different applicants have submitted separate applications to register as having identical or similar marks in respect of those benefits or a definition of good, the Registrar may not register any of them until the rights of registration applicants have been determined by consent.” Therefore, the petitioners must come to terms with each other in order to reach an agreement between them regarding the use of the marks and their registration and submit it to the Registrar. If no such agreement is submitted, it will be decided who is preferable based on evidence submitted by each party to prove his rights and after the parties’ arguments have been clearly stated jointly. ” The Trademark Department seals its letter by stating that a similar notice has been sent to the Israeli Jumbo Stock network and that the parties must reply to the letter within 3 months.
The described schedule shows that in fact the Greek JUMBO received a permit to use the trademark in Israel as early as the end of June, about a month before the signing of the deal with Fox. That is, after the signing, Fox was able to report on the transaction, noting in retrospect what it stated in a statement on September 24, that JUMBO had submitted a request to the trademark registrar for registration of a designed trademark. Fox chose not to do so, and instead reported the signing of the deal for the first time on September 15, two days after it became clear to the Greek company that its trademark application was frozen due to a parallel request by the Israeli Jumbo Stock. According to some interpretations, it is possible that Fox refrained from reporting until then in order not to “wake up” the competitors.
However, in the same initial report that it was known that a problem had arisen in the registration of the trademark, Fox refrained from stating this as well as the fact that it was required to negotiate with the Israeli chain or alternatively appear for a hearing with the Patent Registrar. Fox reported receiving the franchise to build and operate the stores only, emphasizing that this is a material and strategic transaction for it. “The Company considers this transaction to be an essential part of the implementation of the Company’s strategy in expanding the Company’s range of activities and products,” the report states.
Even after being asked by the Securities Authority to clarify the meaning of the delay in the report in relation to the date of signing the transaction, Fox did not state in the clarification that the request ran aground but only the fact that another party filed a parallel request. In other words, the first report of the transaction was lacking in information and was only partially given following the intervention of the regulator.
It should be noted that the request for clarification from the Securities Authority was born, among other things, after the capital market raised questions about the proximity between Fox’s report on the signing of the transaction and the issuance of the Max Stock chain. On September 14, Max Stock reported the results of the institutional tender and a successful IPO at a high value of NIS 1.7 billion. The Max Stock chain is a chain of discounted stock products and is controlled by the AMI fund owned by Apax, which operates in the category that Fox enters with the Jumbo brand. Just the next day the results of Max Stock’s auction became known. Fox first reported on a jumbo deal. Some of the questions that arose then were why Fox chose to report the deal several hours after the publication of Max Stock’s IPO results and what happened at the exact time that caused it to choose to report only after its competitor’s IPO, and whether the company asked not to harm Max Stock’s IPO. Investors. This question arose, among other things, against the background of prior acquaintances and previous contacts between Harel Wiesel, the controlling owner of Fox, and Zehavit Cohen, who manages the Apax Fund, in which Apax sought to enter as a partner in the Fox Group.
In any case, Fox is now encountering a significant obstacle to the establishment of a jumbo network in Israel. Yesterday the local Jumbo Stock chain filed its objection to the registration of the designed logo of the Greek Jumbo (a separate and parallel procedure to its application to register a trademark of the same name) on the grounds that the name may mislead Jumbo Stock customers. It was further argued in the opposition that the application of the Greek Jumbo was submitted for registration in relation to services almost identical to those provided by Jumbo Stock in Israel. Jumbo Stock, owned by Roi and Nono, has been operating in Israel since 2015 and operates 11 branches, and will establish five more branches by the end of 2021. In addition, it has been running an online website since 2019. Fox said: “The supplementary report that Fox published last Thursday is after talks with the Securities Authority and its approval. The delay in the report and the reporting date complied with the law. The other allegations are speculative and misleading.”
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