Nutella’s owner Ferrero accuses Nuteria café of trademark infringement

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Nutella accuses New York café of spreading infringement
09-02-2015

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The maker of hazelnut spread Nutella has claimed that a New York-based café has infringed its trademarks.

In a complaint filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Italian company Ferrero has demanded a permanent injunction against Nuteria and that the café pays it damages for alleged wilful trademark infringement, dilution, and false designation of origin.

According to the complaint, filed on February 5, the café, based in Staten Island, was previously called Nutelleria but changed its name to Nuteria in November last year following a cease-and-desist letter sent by Ferrero two months earlier.

Ferrero claimed that the interior decorations used in the café, as well as the design of its website, make “prominent use” of the ‘Nutella’ trademark and give the “false impression” that the store is owned or authorised by Ferrero.

In the complaint, Ferrero added that the “stylised-font Nuteria” features on promotional materials that are provided or displayed at the café when customers purchase food and drinks.

Ferrero has claimed that the café displays the word ‘Nuteria’ with the ‘Nu’ portion in a different “visual presentation” to the ‘teria’ portion—the ‘Nu’ in black and ‘teria’ in red—which is similar to the Nutella brand’s ‘n’ in black font and ‘utella’ in red.

This, Ferrero said, “educates and dictates” that the pronunciation of the prefix ‘Nu’ is identical to that of the beginning sound of ‘Nutella’.

Ferrero added that it has spent “substantial” amounts of money on advertising and branding its products that use the ‘Nutella’ trademark.

The café, which predominantly uses Nutella in its food, is also planning to open branches in Los Angeles and Miami.

Ferrero also criticised Nuteria’s use of social media fan pages to promote its products.

There are no pending trademark applications for ‘Nuteria’ on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark database. Ferrero has registered several trademarks for ‘Nutella’ in the US.

February 5, the day the complaint was filed, ties in with World Nutella Day, a celebration founded by Nutella fans and embraced by Ferrero on social media.

Neither Nuteria nor Ferrero responded to a request for comment.

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