If ever there was a legal case that made you want to scream, a recent one brought by Nutella against a small burrito chain might be it.
Ferrero, which owns Nutella, recently sent a cease and desist order to Boston-based Boloco, which sold a "Nutella Milkshake" made with Nutella, skim milk, and frozen yogurt for 14 years without incident.
Boloco CEO John Pepper sent out a Tweet earlier this month expressing his frustration:
Pepper told the Boston Herald that Nutella's legal team is fine with him selling the product, but doesn't "endorse the use of Nutella or the Nutella brand in frozen beverages."
It's possible the cease-and-desist letter was partially motivated by broader concerns of Ferraro's. Earlier this year, the company paid $3 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged that Ferraro overstated the health benefits Nutella in its advertisements. So being associated with a milkshake might not be the best look for Nutella right now.
The Citizen Media Law Project blog points out that Ferrero is making its claims on trademark grounds. But it points out a 1924 Supreme Court case ruling in which an overreaching claim was struck down:
[W]hat new rights does the trade-mark confer? It does not confer a right to prohibit the use of the word or words. It is not a copyright. . . . A trade-mark only gives the right to prohibit the use of it so far as to protect the owner's good will against the sale of another's product as his. . . . When the mark is used in a way that does not deceive the public we see no such sanctity in the word as to prevent its being used to tell the truth. It is not taboo.
Regardless, it seems Pepper will stop selling Nutella to avoid trial. The change will come at a price, however:
"... we’re going to lose business because of this. People love Nutella. It’s a top seller of all our shakes and smoothies by some margin.”
Pepper also told the Boston Herald that his company may spend tens of thousands of dollars on menu reprints and new menu boards.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place