Business

Chuck's Bakery to trademark 'Gaza Bread'

BY STEVEN JACKSON

Friday, March 28, 2014    

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THE St Ann-based Chuck's Bakery aims to dissuade impostors by trademarking 'original Gaza bread', a term neologised by deejay Vybz Kartel.

Management added that regardless of Kartel's imprisonment, it will continue to sell the branded bread. A jury found Kartel and his three co-accused guilty of murder last week.

The trademark will legally prevent rival bakeries from branding products 'Gaza bread'. The bakery adds that in thwarting impostors it isn't exploiting Kartel.

"We branded it as Gaza because other bakeries started using the name "Gaza" and we felt that they were capitalising on our hard work because they weren't originally offering that size bread," said Opal Ilgner manager at the bakery, in a Caribbean Business Report interview.

Chuck's applied in January for the trademark which awaits a final decision, checks by Caribean Business Report at Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO) office reveal.

Gaza is a self-governed territory within the state of Israel. Kartel refers to Gaza as a controlled territory within Portmore, Jamaica.

The original Gaza bread is a distinctively small hardo bread initially made prior to the 80s, management explained.

"We have had this bread for over 30 years, and at the height of the Gully/ Gaza thing the children started calling it Gaza and everybody adopted it. So we just ran with it," Ilgner said.

The family bakery, owned by (mother) Hazel Chuck, managed by Ilgner along with production manager Karen Chuck, was established in 1958.

The hardo bread recently branded 'original Gaza bread' was unofficially renamed in about 2008 during the height of the lyrical rivalry between the Gaza camp of Kartel and Gully camp of deejay Mavado. Ilgner recalled that her mother "from the older generation" tried in vain to disassociate the bread from Gaza.

"We are not linked to Kartel in any way. We try to separate ourselves.

"At first my mother tried to resist the name Gaza because of the affiliation with Kartel. But we are now trying to capitalise on that without any affiliation with Kartel. Maybe in the minds of the people when they are ordering they are thinking of him, but we are not affiliated with Kartel," she explained.

Chuck's sells bread, buns, bullas and gizzadas and coconut biscuits. It also sells a round bread which some customers call the Gully bread "but that didn't catch on". Currently Chuck's Bakery sells along the North Coast including St Mary, St Ann and Trelawny. No timeline has been set for nationwide distribution or export.

"Once we have that demand for the local market then we will look to export," she said.

The bakery recently invested $2 million to automate its processes which will also include buying a moulder and divider.

"Some other bakeries on the North Coast started using the name Gaza, but we are the ones that basically started making that small bread, so we have to use the name Gaza because that is what people are asking for," said Ilgner adding that it's the number one selling product at the bakery.

JIPO executive director Carol Simpson indicated that companies can apply to register terms that include Gaza, provided they don't enter the realm of music.

"There is no exclusive right necessarily in a name. In this case the product is not linked to music or entertainment which most would have known Gaza for, or for which it became popular," she said, while walking the floor of her Kingston head office. "In this case the product is bread and it's quite unusual. To register a trademark the product has to be distinctive and distinguishable and on that basis it might be considered unique in its own way, because this is related to a totally different product which is bread."

Chuck's Bakery's 2014 application remains the only entity seeking to trademark a phrase which includes 'Gaza' since 2010, according to in-house checks at JIPO. At that time, Adidja Palmer, the given name of Vybz Kartel, and music producer Robert Todorovic jointly applied to trademark 'Gaza Mi Seh' as a recording and merchandise firm. It awaits a response, the JIPO file indicates. In 2005 'Gaza the Element of Surprise' was registered by Barrington McGregor, JIPO checks reveal. Earlier in the 2000s another entity applied, but withdrew its registration for unknown reasons.

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