Hello?

 

From the file of the absolutely ridiculous comes this article from Stuff: Quote:

My Food Bag has rejected German-multinational corporation HelloFresh’s threatened legal action over use of the word “hello”.

The Kiwi company received a “cease and desist” letter from HelloFresh, telling it to stop using “hello” in marketing My Food Bag’s latest product offer called “Fresh Start with Nadia” aimed at people who want to lose weight. End quote.

Hello? Let me just check. Is it 1 April already? Quote:

Cecilia Robinson, chief executive and director of My Food Bag, said she had written by post and by email rejecting the claim on the grounds intellectual property rights don’t extend to common greetings.

HelloFresh threatened to use international law firm Bird & Bird if its demand was not met. End quote.

Boy, someone has ruffled their feathers. Have they tweeted about it yet? (Sorry… but how absolutely stupid.) Quote:

Sébastien Aymeric, and associate lawyer at James & Wells, said he wouldn’t advise HelloFresh to push its claim though the legal channels.

He said the issue would arise if someone tried to use the two words as a brand, rather than using the words in some descriptive or general way in a sentence.

“It doesn’t mean competitors can’t use the words at all,” he said. End quote.

Oh well, that’s a relief. So glad to know I will still be able to use the English language greeting that has been around for centuries. ENGLISH language greeting, please note. Quote:

Similarly, using the word “hello” in an email address was a common generic address, he said.

My Food Bag also uses the word “hello” at the beginning of its email address. End quote.

Yeah. So what?

I am not a My Food Bag customer, but I imagine that their email (that the Germans are objecting to) goes something like this:

‘Hello,

Fresh Start with Nadia would like you to try this kale and mung bean salad to help you lose weight…’ (Who needs a fat bastard tax? Go for it, Nadia.)

That is not a breach of a trademark. They are not calling their programme “Hello Fresh”. Their generic email starts with the word ‘Hello’. It is a common English greeting. Probably the most common of all. We all use the word every day.

I have to say, however, that I think My Food Bag’s response was a bit puerile. Quote:

Robinson said My Food Bag had been using “hello” since 2013, about the same time HelloFresh was established, and her company would continue to use it.

The response she sent HelloFresh began, “Kia ora Herr Griesel and Herr Ries.

“Greetings from Aotearoa.

“We don’t often get heavyweight German multinational corporations taking the time to write to us Kiwis.

“Ka pai. It’s pretty cool that you’ve heard of our awesome Fresh Start programme down here in NZ.

“What’s not cool is you fellas trying to stop us saying “hello” to our Fresh Start family.

“That’s not the Kiwi way. In fact we thought you guys must be pulling our leg.

“We’re sending you our Hello Fresh Start pack, so you can kick start your health goals and say hello to a new you.

“So in short we’ve decided ‘yeah, nah’, and we wish you fellas a good day.

“Otherwise our lawyers, Gumboot & Gumboot are always good for a yarn. They’re top drawer red bands.

“Haere rā,

“The My Food Bag Family.” End quote.

Peppering your response with Maori words that the Germans will not know is not solving the problem. It shows that they are not taking the matter seriously. It also demonstrates to the Germans that they have options other than the word ‘Hello’, and that is not overly smart. Unfortunately, I think they do need to take it seriously, even though the whole thing seems absurd.

It is absurd. Champagne is a wine growing district. Formica was an actual product that has been used for decades, but an attempt to trademark the name failed in the 1970s. Glad Wrap, Kleenex, Hoover… there is a myriad of examples of how trade names became common usage, and there was nothing that could be done about it.

So, I don’t rate Hello Fresh’s chances. Particularly as it does not indicate a particular, unique product, and they aren’t even German words. It would be like trying to say that Germans can’t say “Scheissenhauser”. And yes. It means more or less as it sounds. Basically, shit house.

Still, you never know with these things. It shouldn’t gain any traction in court, but stranger things have happened. It still seems crazy though.

I mean, what the?

 


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Accountant. Boring. Loves tax. Needs to get out more. Loves the environment, but hates the Greens. Has been called a dinosaur. Wears it with pride.

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