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Where’s Nutella?

June 2019. Slovakian investment company Star Trek Private Equity has been refused European trademark protection for its Protenella logo to denote food supplements. Swedish-owned Healthyco successfully filed an opposition based on their existing registration of the word mark Proteinella.

Slovakian Star Trek’s Protenella: too similar to Healthyco’s existing word mark Proteinella

Infringement

On 17 May, the European Trademark Office EUIPO unsurprisingly concluded that Protenella was far too similar to Proteinella. And since both trademarks were used for food supplements, this constituted an infringement.

Nutella also ready to oppose

Nutella filed opposition too

EUIPO’s files show that a second opposition had been filed against Protenella by Ferrero, owner of the world-famous Nutella trademark, since Protenella’s logo was effectively a copy of Nutella’s. So if Proteinella hadn’t successfully opposed the registration, Nutella would have done so. But that’s not necessary now. Result: no registration for Protenella.

Cashing in

However, that begs the question of why Nutella allowed Healthyco to market a jar of chocolate spread with the name Proteinella in the first place. You’d think the extension ‘-ella’ would be enough for consumers to associate Proteinella with Nutella. Isn’t Proteinella therefore simply trying to cash in on Nutella’s reputation? Yet Ferrero doesn’t appear to be considering taking any steps as yet. Which is odd.

Bas Kist