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Israeli Firm Challenges Coca-cola Allegation of ‘infringement’

April 14, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The head of the Tempo Soft Drinks Company — the Israeli firm which has been refused a franchise by the Coca-Cola Export Corporation — today challenged the contention of the American firm that the refusal was based mainly on the fact that Tempo was found guilty by Israel courts of “infringement of the Coca-Cola trademark and bottle design.”

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, in raising the issue of the Coca-Cola Company’s denial of a franchise to the Israeli firm, had charged the company with “bowing to the Arab boycott” against Israel, indicating that the motive behind the denial was the fear of losing the market for Coca-Cola in the Arab states.

Moshe Bornstein, managing director of Tempo, who arrived here last night, said at a press conference today that he was surprised to learn of a statement made yesterday by James A. Farley, chairman of the board of the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, that the “most important fact” in connection with the rejection by his company of a franchise application by Tempo was the 1963 litigation involving the Israeli firm in which “the Israeli courts found the Tempo beverage company guilty of infringement” of the Coca-Cola trademark and bottle design.

Mr. Bornstein told the press conference, which was held at the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League, that the bottle used to market Tempo drinks was of that company’s unique design, introduced in 1954 and registered with the State of Israel. He said that the design of the bottle was never an issue in any litigation.

He said that, after Tempo introduced a cola-flavored soft drink in 1960 under the name of Tempo Cola, the Coca-Cola Company sought legal action against the use of the name “Tempo Cola” but that this matter was settled out of court, and the settlement was confirmed by the Israeli courts whereby the Israeli company agreed to change the spelling of the name of the drink to “Tempo Kola. “

“We agreed to the compromise, ” Mr. Bornstein said in a letter today to Mr. Farley, “only in order to maintain friendly relations, especially since we were in the midst of negotiations for your franchise. ” The Israeli industrialist noted that, in subsequent correspondence on the Tempo application, Mr. Farley, in discussing his firm’s consideration of the application, never mentioned any “litigation” as being a factor in tho negotiations regarding a franchise to Tempo.

Mr. Bornstein pointed out that, during the course of the negotiations, Mr. Farley referred the Israeli beverage firm to Coca-Cola’s area manager, located in Beirut, Lebanon, one of the countries participating in the Arab boycott against Israel. He said that Tempo could not successfully contact the official in Beirut.


Reiterating the charge that the Coca-Cola Export Corporation had “created a special set of criteria” in rejecting the franchise application of Tempo, Arnold Forster, general counsel of the ADL, told the press conference that it was “strange” that Coca-Cola failed to mention the “litigation as the reason for the franchise refusal in the long period since first we were in touch with the company about the matter. “

We applaud Mr. Farley’s statement that the Coca-Cola Export Corporation has not been responding to the pressures of the Arab boycott, “Mr. Forster declared, adding, however, that “the continuous shifting grounds which Coca-Cola officials have offered to us and to the public for not licensing any Israeli company gives further substance to the charge that, in truth, it is submitting to Arab wishes.”

The New York City Commission on Human Rights today announced it had sent a telegram, requesting Mr. Farley and other officials of the Coca-Cola Corporation to be ready to discuss the boycott charges against the firm. The wire was signed by William H. Booth, chairman of the commission; David H. Litter, vice-chairman; and Commissioner Jerome M. Kay.

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