Olive Garden Apologizes To Allofgarden.com, Blames IP Enforcement Bot For Legal Threat

from the mea-cappelini dept

You will hopefully recall the recent story we did on Darden, parent company of the Olive Garden restaurant chain, sending a legal threat letter to the man behind allofgarden.com, a site that reviews Olive Garden dishes, because the internet is a strange, strange place. At issues, according to the threat letter, was that allofgarden.com named Olive Garden in metatags in its reviews of the dishes, which you should already know is nothing remotely resembling trademark infringement or infringement upon any other types of intellectual property, either. With that in mind, Vincent Malone replied to the threat letter in a manner both well-informed of his own rights and one which demonstrated just how funny Malone is. After refusing to comply with the requests in the letter, he demanded a reply within nine days in limerick form.

His demands were not met exactly, but Darden has now responded to Malone, apologizing for the letter, promising no further action would be taken against him, blaming an IP enforcement bot for the letter, and sending him a $50 gift card. Sadly, none of this was delivered in the limerick form Malone had requested.

As apologies for this sort of thing go, this one is pretty good. It was apparently in further conversations outside of this letter that Malone was told of the bot, which may well be true but only demonstrates that too many companies play loose with the way they seek to enforce their rights. This story ends on a positive note only because Malone decided not to immediately back down out of fear of a much larger company, after all. It doesn’t take too much imagination to suppose that there could be, or perhaps have been, instances we don’t know about in which sites simply comply with these unreasonable demands instead of seeking limerick apologies as Malone had.

But if you thought I was going to leave you having read this post without a limerick to read, I can allay those concerns, as Malone himself decided to inform his readers of all of this in poetic form.

As of six thirty-five in the PMs
I’ve wrapped up my talks with the chieftains
They were misconstrued;
I’m not getting sued
And I needn’t write out any ™s

Yes! An official who represents Darden
Has granted me a total pardon
We’ve reached resolution
I received absolution
For daring to print “olive garden”

The source of the problem was sought
And the sender-offender was caught!
That e-mail was provided
(If you wonder [as I did])
by a prodigious, litigious spam-bot.

My sole issue with Legal’s retort
Was the prose of their written report
The demand was specific:
a reply via lim’rick
Well. At least I’m not going to court.


Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: darden, mark monitor, olive garden

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Comments on “Olive Garden Apologizes To Allofgarden.com, Blames IP Enforcement Bot For Legal Threat”

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Writing is about clarity; if they want the meaning of the phrase “respect our brand” to be construed as “respect our brand rights”, they can just say “respect our brand rights”. How much trouble would adding an extra six-letter word and clearing up any possible confusion really cause in this situation?

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I agree.

As if he is suddenly going to run out and open another restaurant chain called The Olive Garden.

If legal was in the huddle and made “them” add that phrase, then they certainly should have done a better job of phrasing it if they meant something other than what it sounds like.

Or maybe they simply wanted a stereotypical Italian mobster flavor added. You know, for authentic-ness.

John85851 (profile) says:

It's not over

Did Darden say they were going to stop using these IP bots? If not, then the issue it’s settled. Although the situation worked out fine for this guy, I can easily see this happening again.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that an IP bot will send a notice to TechDirt for daring to mention Olive Garden (or olivegarden) in an article talking about Olive Garden.

Anonmylous says:


Is no one else wondering about Branden? He is now completely silent on this and that worries me. Did they fire him? Transfer him to Janitorial? Has he been kidnapped and sold to slavers in Southeast Asia never to be heard from again, his family left to wonder why he never came home, little Susie Forcements left to grow up without a father?

What have you done with Branden, Darden?

Bergman (profile) says:

What I'm wondering about...

To file a valid DMCA takedown, you must state under penalty of perjury that you own the copyright in question and that you believe in good faith that the violate is not fair use.

But a bot cannot do those things. A video is not court-admissible evidence because the rules of evidence predate the invention of video cameras — a video is only admitted as evidence if a living human being watches it and then testifies about what the video shows, which can lead to absurd results if the person testilies instead.

So, how exactly can a bot make a legally admissible statement, as required by a DMCA takedown? I honestly don’t see how it possibly could.

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