A recent Chobani ad campaign isn’t sitting well with business consultant and author Dov Seidman, who claims the Greek yogurt maker ripped off a core concept of his work.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday, Seidman accused Chobani of trademark infringement, claiming the company’s “How Matters” slogan and advertising campaign are torn from the pages of his 2007 book, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything. Chobani’s ad agency, Droga5, is also named in the suit.
Chobani’s ad campaign included a memorable Super Bowl commercial featuring a bear and a Bob Dylan tune. The campaign is featured prominently on the yogurt company’s website including such lines as “How our food is made matters” and “How you get to 100 calories matters.”
Meanwhile, Seidman’s website features the message that “it’s no longer what you do that matters most but how you do it.” The author’s lawsuit also cites as evidence a tweet from Chobani’s Twitter account that thanks Seidman “for inspiring the world to care about ‘how.'” The tweet was posted days before the Super Bowl ad aired on Feb. 2, and Forbes later noted the similarity between Chobani’s campaign and Seidman’s book in March. (Seidman is a contributor for Forbes.)
The lawsuit claims that Seidman owns federal trademarks for the “word and mark HOW” that “convey a clear and consistent meaning: that how an organization behaves matters.”
In a statement, Chobani said, “We are confident that our use of ‘How Matters’ does not violate any legal rights of Mr. Seidman, and accurately portrays who we are and what we do.” It went on to say that the allegations are baseless and without merit.
Droga5 had no immediate comment about the lawsuit.
Seidman, who advises companies on ethical behavior, is asking the court to force Chobani to stop using the “How Matters” slogan, or any similar slogan, immediately while also awarding Seidman an unspecified amount in damages and legal fees.
Chobani, which hit $1 billion in annual sales last year, received a $750 million investment from buyout firm TPG Capital in April. Company founder Hamdi Ulukaya told Fortune at the time that an initial public offering could be in the cards for the company, though not this year.
This is the latest lawsuit Chobani has had to contend with. Ulukaya has been engaged in an ongoing battle with his ex-wife, who claims she is owed a majority stake in Chobani. The ex-wife also claimed in a court filing earlier this year that Ulukaya only founded Chobani after he stole the recipe of rival yogurt company Fage by bribing one of that company’s employees, according to the New York Post.
(Story was updated to include comment from Chobani.)