Canadian Jews win legal case over menorah trademark

TORONTO — Two and a half years after Canada's trademark registrar legally protected a stylized menorah used by a Christian group that proselytizes Jews, a federal court judge has reversed the decision.

Officials of the Canadian Jewish Congress, which had sought a judicial review of the matter after the registrar gave the Chosen People Ministries exclusive right to a menorah design in November 1999, expressed satisfaction with the ruling.

The congress said the ministries' claim to its menorah design as an "official mark" was "scandalous, offensive to Canadians and deceptive," said Manuel Prutschi, national director of community relations for the congress.

"Official mark" status grants extraordinary protections even broader than those of a trademark. Chosen People Ministries is a nonprofit, messianic organization based in New York that specifically targets Jews for conversion.

The success at blocking official mark status for the menorah "is a victory for congress' ongoing efforts to counter those specifically targeting Jews for conversion to Christianity," said Keith Landy, the congress' national president.