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Ferrero Threatens Gnutella Web Sites

By YesNoCancel in News
Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 10:45:08 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Ferrero, the company that produces Nutella (a kind of chocolate cream) and owns the respective trademark, has forced gnutella.de (a German gnutella Web site) to close their site and stop using the domain.

As the Heise Newsticker reports (in German), Ferrero thinks that Nutella and Gnutella sound similarly enough to justify legal action against Web sites that use any form of "nutella" in their domain name, such as gnutella.de, knutella.org etc. They claim that it would harm their trademark if "millions of Internet users don't associate the word Nutella with the family-friendly chocolate cream, but with a virtual conglomerate of IP pirates and child pornographers".

Ferrero now threatens to sue other gnutella sites as well, namely knutella.de, knutella.org, knutella.net, und knutella.co.uk.


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Ferrero Threatens Gnutella Web Sites | 25 comments (25 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Got my mojo workin' (3.88 / 9) (#1)
by 0xdeadbeef on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 08:25:17 AM EST

Customary Babelfish link

This is priceless:

" millions of Internet users associate the family-friendly nut nut creamnut cream, but a virtual conglomerate from copyright mirror-image rates and Kinderpornofreunden with the word Nutella not "

For great justice! (none / 0) (#24)
by pallex on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 11:22:39 AM EST

(The injustice, however, is that my company firewall blocks babelfish!! Amusing!)

[ Parent ]
I think gnutella should (2.33 / 6) (#2)
by unstable on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 08:31:40 AM EST

Use this as a "marketing" ploy.... you know the choclatier, smoother, creamier gnutella. Gnutella melts in you mouth not in you hand, etc etc.... of course I am know for being an instigator so maybe people shouldnt listen to me.

Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

limewire gnutella (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by kellan on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:01:24 AM EST

at the O'reilly p2p conference limewire was doing exactly that, handing out jars of new and improved, Limewire brand gnutella. its a chocolate hazelnut spread, and an opensource guntella client!

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (3.60 / 5) (#3)
by codemonkey_uk on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 08:36:41 AM EST

To be honest, I've though that from the start.

Everytime I read "Gnutella" I ask myself what that got to do with delicious chocolate & hazelnut paste. Then I make myself a sandwich.

Seriously, the "g" in Gnutella is silent, so it is read as nutella.

So, can Gnutella and Knutella justify there names? If not Nuttella have a case.

And yes, I know its a GNU thing, but why not "GNU Tella", or whatever.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell

GNUtella (2.75 / 4) (#8)
by guppie on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:31:01 AM EST

Well, I always think (and talk) of gnutella as GNUtella,
with a pronounced 'G'. But then we don't have any silent G's in Norwegian, anyway.

Maybe if they (we) uppercased the GNU in gnutella, Nutella wouldn't be that mad? Probably not, corporations never had any tolerance when it came to "tribute", "irony", or "parody". When will the generation X'ers with some irony take over the corporations and straighten this out?

What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.
-Zack de la Rocha
[ Parent ]
It would still infringe (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by Woodblock on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 01:55:08 PM EST

The website for GNU Tella would still be gnutell.{de,org,net,ca,coop,museum} and so wouls till infringe on the trademark. Not to mention that gnutella is not part of the GNU project and may feel the wraith of Stallman for such obvious name stealing.
-- Real computer scientists don't use computers.
[ Parent ]
Gnutella's Not GNU! (4.33 / 3) (#20)
by der on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 05:59:39 PM EST

Actually, Gnutella has no association with GNU whatsoever, other than the unfortunate naming incident. It's all explained at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/gnutella.html.

[ Parent ]
Yes and no... (none / 0) (#25)
by CrayDrygu on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 12:41:20 PM EST

From that page:

"Perhaps the original developers picked the name because they wanted it to be GNU software someday, but their employers stamped out the project, and it does not seem to have been released as free software."

And that's exactly what happened. Frankel wanted to release gnutella as an open source project, but AOL shut down the project before he could. So you're right, it's not GNU software, but it was intended to be, and it's not Frankel's fault that it never happened.

[ Parent ]
I don't see the problem (3.16 / 6) (#5)
by retinaburn on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:11:07 AM EST

Between Nutella and Gnutella. Anyone who goes to the incorrect site SHOULD immediatley realize their mistake. Once should not become confused between the two.

In fact Nutella is so much more pervasive than gnutella that for someone to place a 'g' before the url is ridiculous. Anyone who is in the know will know how to access the correct site.

Nutella should in fact place ads and sponsor various Gnutella type things...why turn it into a fight what you can promote your delicious goo (If I had a nickel for every time I said that...)

I think that we are a young species that often fucks with things we don't know how to unfuck. -- Tycho

What took them so long? (3.00 / 6) (#6)
by hardburn on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:11:23 AM EST

What took them so long? Gnutella has been out how long, two, maybe three years?

My favorite part is where they said "family-friendly". Ha ha. You can allways count on giant, all consuming corperations to be "family-friendly".

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

Corporation sues over trademark (2.22 / 9) (#7)
by wiredog on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:22:54 AM EST

And, in other news, the sun rose in the east. Mac, Linux, and windows zealots flamed each other. Stories were cross-posted to k5 and slashdot.

And wiredog went trolling in his bass boat again...

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.

Question: (3.42 / 7) (#9)
by loaf on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:31:51 AM EST

I don't know the answer and, to be honest, haven't the time to go search, but why is Gnutella so named?

This doesn't seem like one of the groundless TM chasing situations - Nutella is a well known brand.

But doesn't infringement of trademarks need someone to be passing off, i.e. deliberately confusing the consumer? This is hardly the case here.

The answer is... (3.57 / 7) (#10)
by slick willie on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 09:39:42 AM EST

Gnutella is named for Nutella, with the G at the beginning for the obvious reference to GNU.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Therefore ... (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by loaf on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 11:17:19 AM EST

Doesn't the trademark holder of "nutella" have a point.

Just a little one?

[ Parent ]

Nutella != Chocolate Cream. (2.66 / 6) (#11)
by broody on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 10:01:11 AM EST

Nutella is a blend of cocoa & hazelnuts, not quite a "chocolate cream". This story just about made me cry, time to choose between boycotting out of principal and denying myself the ambrosic taste of Nutella. *whimper*

~~ Whatever it takes
I'd rather have chocolate than... (none / 0) (#21)
by bigbird on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 11:55:14 PM EST

just about anything. I can share your pain. However, there are substitutes available - in Canada, the President's Choice chocolate-hazelnut spread is pretty close, and it should be available from a Loblaw or Weston supplied / owned store in the US.

When I was a child, we lived in Spain for a year, and could buy small packages of Nutella which came with a little plastic spoon. IIRC, it was intended to be eaten right out of the package, as a competitor to chocolate bars. Around half of any given jar of Nutella in my house gets eaten straight, although it is pretty good on white bread, toast and chocolate-chip bagels (yes, I have a chocolate problem, and am now leaving to head for the kitchen).


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
[ Parent ]

Thanks. (none / 0) (#23)
by broody on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 10:43:42 AM EST


I love the way that things simply fall into place. I was just running low on the jar of Nutella that I had at home and having an internal debate. I don't think I'll have too much trouble finding PC-CHS in DC. <:

I tend to mostly put Nutella on toast and use it as a topping on baked goods. Though I suspect I would eat just about anything if somone covered it in Nutella. I just picked up an ice cream maker and I am so tempted to try it and see how it comes out. Hazelnut, white chocolate, cashew ice cream; yum, yum.

~~ Whatever it takes
[ Parent ]
More information... (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by YesNoCancel on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 11:44:22 AM EST

...can be found here (this time in English).

It seems that not only gnutella.de had to close, but also newtella.de, which does not even contain the word "nutella". In my opinion it is very unlikely that someone would mistype www.nutella.de (which belongs to Ferrero, but isn't active yet, as it seems) and write newtella instead.

Ferrero doesn't really seem to be concerned with domain names that might infringe their trademark (after all they have no problem with nutella.co.uk - no leading G here, mind you), it's more the association with an, as they put it, "virtual conglomerate of copyright pirates and child pornographers". Their view of Gnutella certainly seems to be heavily distorted... and I doubt forcing owners of gnutella sites to surrender their domains will prevent people from associating Gnutella with Nutella, it will probably even strengthen this association.

Nutella (4.50 / 4) (#14)
by jabber on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 12:04:25 PM EST

But what about that demographic of media pirates and child pornographers who listen to stolen copies of Metallica's greatest hits while licking Nutella off of nubile virgins and baby Gnus?

We are few, but we represent tremendous purchasing power. Beware Ferrero! We can easily change tastes to Nestle, and leave you behind. We are your customers, and if you do not cater to our little ideosyncracies, we will give our money to someone who will.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Or (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by farlukar on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 03:24:09 PM EST

people could switch to hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) instead.
$ make install not war

[ Parent ]
It's Like Asking Burglars to Stop Burglaring (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by Logan on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 12:35:46 PM EST

Not that I want to assert that all gnutella users are thieves. That's not what I mean. But gnutella seems to exist for the express purpose of circumventing intellectual property laws. I do not attribute any moral value to this purpose -- it doesn't have to be used this way, and even if it were, I do not necessarily see it as wrong.

So if gnutella's express purpose is the circumvention or lack of recognition of intellectual property rights, it seems rather silly for Ferrero to be asking people involved with it to respect their intellectual property. Obviously they're really just jumping through the legal hoops of protecting their intellectual property, but it does result in a fairly absurd situation.


Interesting. (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by jd on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 01:19:07 PM EST

Trademarks are not enforcable across totally different products, at least not that I'm aware of. (Mind you, I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know, anyway?)

Second, trademarks =HAVE= to be enforced to be kept. If Nutella is claiming a trademark violation after several years, then the courts may well end up saying that they've lost the trademark completely. This is brave of Nutella, but very stupid. They'd be much better off saying that Gnutella falls outside the scope of their trademark, to guarantee that their trademark stays intact.

Last, it might well result in a lot of publicity for all the non-family stuff that Nutella wants to distance itself from. Which might encourage journallists, always on the look-out for a sensational new story, to start looking into exactly =why= Nutella is so nervous...

Summary: Nutella's either dead or undead. If the latter, apply holy water.

Trademarks... (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by Parity on Wed Feb 28, 2001 at 03:50:02 PM EST

'Well known' trademarks are enforceable across product lines, for some values of well known, under some legal systems. You would be hard pressed to escape a trademark suit for 'coca-cola brand technical reference manuals' for example, despite the fact that the coca-cola brand has been almost exclusively been applied to food & beverage products. (Except for a brief time when they attached the brand to their movie studios, but ever since that Apartheid boycotting thing, megacorps seem reluctant to make it obvious precisely what their holdings are.)

More to the point, trademark holders usually have lots of money and individuals or non-profits who violate trademark law have relatively little, making lawsuit-threats highly effective regardless of the merits of the case. Hopefully, time will show that the EFF & others have changed that.

Parity None

[ Parent ]
All GNUtella needs is spin... (none / 0) (#22)
by Mr Tom on Thu Mar 01, 2001 at 07:13:14 AM EST

So they issue a press release, saying that GNUtella is named after the chocolatey spread because they feel that they share common values, like sharing, community, universality.

Much like the Ambassador who shared his Rochers with the diplomatic community. :-)

-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

Ferrero Threatens Gnutella Web Sites | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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