Israel’s Supreme Court Rules on Use of ORT Name

The “Fat Lady Sang”. In this case, the Israeli Supreme Court has ended the long-simmering legal disagreement concerning the use of the ORT name in Israel.

The Court concluded, “WO is entitled, in its activity in Israel, to use its full name, in English only, including the words “World Ort” and without any addition in Hebrew. It has also allowed WO to use the logo that WO “is currently using” (or, actually, was using before the most recent decisions of Judge Ginat in the contempt proceedings, i.e. the newer logo in which the words “World Ort” appear on the globe).”

The Court further found,

(1) Ort Israel’s motive in fighting against the use by WO of the name “Ort”, was apparently to try to preserve Ort Israel’s monopoly over philanthropic educational activity in Israel. This interest, however, which goes beyond preservation of reputation, cannot be protected through a claim that another party’s use of a name was misleading;

(2) Both WO and Ort Israel may be considered the original owners of the goodwill connected with the name “Ort” in Israel, and hence it may be concluded that the parties enjoy a joint right in the name;

(3) The use by WO of the name “Ort” in Israel does not raise a reasonable concern of public confusion, if WO uses its full name in English (“World Ort”) and its new logo;

(4) WO used its historical name, and Ort Israel’s arguments with respect to this use of “Ort” name by WO were not raised in good faith but rather in a wrongful attempt to prevent WO’s activity in Israel, especially given the clear difference in the use of the name “Ort” by the two entities, which are easily distinguishable.

In addition, the court awarded WO with legal expenses in the amount of NIS 40,000.

With this distraction settled, and the unrelated dispute in the U.S. also settled, all involved can now focus their complete energies on delivering programs to their respective stakeholders.