One of the most challenging exercises in the IP world is to imagine an alternative framework for fashioning the law. In the IP word where international agreements homogenize the way that we view intangible assets, it is refreshing sometimes to ponder, how things might be conceived differently. The review described the Jewish law as, “a unique, ancient, perpetual evolving body of rules, maxims and principles.”
“In every legal system, a balance must be struck between achieving justice in individual case and providing a general level of predictability and stability.”
The timing of the review of professor Netanel’s book, and the question it raises about the modern application of the Jewish Law, reaching back to Talmudic Law of ancient times, could not have been better.
Dispute between the two restaurants
At the issue it was both offering a fare of kosher’s food. The plaintiff Mr. Daniel Branover is an owner of up-scale koshers restaurant known as Basil pizza and Wine bar located in Brooklyn. The specialty pizza pies are mainstay of its menu. The defendant Mr. Shemi Harel, last month opened a pizza shop called ‘Calabria’ located directly across the street from the Basil restaurant.
Branover took the issue with Harel’s conduct and sued, reportedly on the grounds of what is called in Hebrew “hasagat gevul”. The term can be translated as “trespassing” or “unfair competition”, depending upon the circumstances. It was claimed that Calabria sought to elicit information from the employees of Basil about Basil’s most famous pizza and the technique for making them. Not only that, but Calabria would approach Basil’s customer as they waited outside for Basil for a table to come open. And so the question, legitimate competition or violation of ‘hasagat gevul’.
What is important for a claim based on “hasagat gevul” in such circumstances is the effect of these factors would have on Branover’s livelihood. In principle, perhaps the court could have concentrated on proximity between these two restaurants and could have simply ordered Calabria to move to another location. But it seems that the ability of Harel to make living was also taken into consideration. Accordingly Calabria, was ordered to rename its pizza offerings to ‘regular pizza’ , further described by the court as “New York styled pizza” , without providing further guidance on what it intended . Calabria now claims to sell “New York styled pizza’s” , but in form of rectangular slices. That seems unacceptable to Branover, who insists that slice of New York styled pizza should be in form of wedged slices cut from a round pizza pie. The articles report that Branover is contemplating the filing of a civil law suit.