Legal action against this site by Danone

On Wenesday 11th June 2008, when this page was at www.bifidusactiregularis.com, this site was contacted by lawyers representing Danone. They demanded that the domain name bifidusdigestivum.com was given to them within eight days or they would pursue full legal action. Among their comments were that this site could be mistaken as being owned by or affiliated with Danone (very, very unlikely), and that this site is gaining a competitive advantage by using one of Danone’s Trademarks (untrue as it does not sell yoghurt and has no advertising on it – this site makes no money). Danone were offered a place to comment on what Bifidus Regularis, Actiregularis, Digestivum, Essensis etc. are, and also to comment on the language and imagery used in their advertising. No reply has been received, but this site will be updated as and when this happens.

Update : 29th July 2008
Danone chose not to make a comment on their products. After negotations with Danone’s lawyers it was agreed that the domains be given to Danone due to clear legal precedent in trademark law. The site has been moved to bifidobacteriumanimalis.com as this uses purely scientific taxonomy – therefore it is not, and cannot become, a trademark of Danone. The lawyers also asked this site to make a number of undertakings such as not talking about their products again. Because this site is not set up to denigrate Danone, explicitly states that it is not in any way affiliated with Danone, and does not gain any commercial advantage from association with Danone’s products, these undertakings were not given.

Update: 3rd January 2010
The site has been moved again, this time to whatisbifidusregularis.org – it was felt that because this is a question, and because there is a prominent disclaimer about the site not begin affiliated with Danone / Dannon, this could in no way lead to confusion that the site was benefitting in any way from the trademark.

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Comments

  • The only thing more annoying than the made up marketing crap in their ads are the annoying gearning pricks they employ to do them! As a result I boycott all danone products until they learn to stop insulting consumers intelligence!

    Posted by Jay on 11th April 2014

  • what they do not mention is Web definitions

    Bifidobacterium animalis is a Gram-positive anaerobic rod-shaped bacterium which can be found in the large intestines of most mammals, including humans. Bifidobacterium animalis and Bifidobacterium lactis were previously described as two distinct species. on whole it contains animal derivatives

    Posted by psychogoth1uk on 8th April 2014

  • Came here through google. Been eating activias for a long time, always gave me this ‘full’ feeling. But its getting worse, yesterday ate 3 and today also 3. Im here lying in bed with this bloated bubbly belly and all i can think if is how i should not eat the remaining vanilla, coconut and lemon activias. Too bad cause i liked the new flavours. Nice flavours to camouflage THE POISON that is activia.

    Posted by Dude on 17th March 2014

  • well 1st of i did not type whatisbifidusregularis but was enquiring about bifidus actiregularis & danone but got this web page which tells nothing about the product but a lot about it NOT being danone & some lawsuit so what is the purpose of this site

    Posted by elizabeth on 21st January 2014

  • Just read a few more comments. cos, like chocolate, they’re addictive and you have to read them all! lol!

    Thanks to the site producers – really good job guys, well done. Congrats to Danone too, whether their profit making is taking the “P” with good marketing or not, the law is there in every walk of life and there will always be those who exploit some thing for profit. If Danone have profitted through elaboration or fiction, so what? it goes off everywhere – but they had to cough up $43 USD for doing it, so they appear to have had their come-upance. Their excess profit is therefore earned by sheer ingenuity!

    As I say, I don’t condone fraud, or profiteering from misleading ads etc., but someone had a brilliant strategy and they have marketed it profitably, they earned their fee – that’s showbiz…..!

    Posted by Mushroom Management (feed it B.S. and keep it in a dark place) on 23rd December 2013

  • Well said “Posted by verisww on 5th May 2013″ – worth a read at http://abcnews.go.com/Business/dannon-settles-lawsuit/story?id=9950269

    Without Prejudice……….I love Activia but it’s overpriced and I can’t normally afford it. I buy it reduced when the sell by date allows, and frankly just based on the taste it’s my first choice.

    I have had a good laugh at some of the comments here, but please, get a life! If it works because its scientific or a placebo – does it matter, so long as YOU think it benefits you? If it doesn’t or you don’t like it – don’t buy it again, simple!

    I’m not condoning misleading advertising, the law appears to be able to deal with that, but what is everyone getting worked up about?

    I’ll continue to buy it at anywhere around half price or cheaper – and presumably there are millions like me. Danone, is there a message there? Is it more profitable to be higher priced or have a higher volume of sales, that’s the real question?

    Thanks Danone for your product – I love it!

    Kev

    Posted by Mushroom Management (feed it B.S. and keep it in a dark place) on 23rd December 2013

  • I just want to know what it is. This reminds me when I as my son (a technical geek) about my computer he tells me more than I want to know. My other son who is practically a genius taught by example he showed me how to pose a question on the internet. I suspect everyone “in the know” does that. So, I figured it was some kind of additive and am leery of something being put in my food. I just as soon separate medication from nutrient unless I know the exact connection, e.g., low fiber vs. high fiber. So what’s in probiotic yogurt?

    Posted by Mary Lou Stefanko on 12th November 2013

  • I never even noticed Danone Activia 0% Fat yoghurts had this ingredient. I buy because they are zero fat, are low calorie, are a good source of calcium and they taste delicious

    Posted by Paul Smith on 23rd July 2013

  • The many Danone television advertisements appear to be misleading by suggesting positive health / medicinal benefits by applying scientific sounding names to bacteria that occur naturally in yeast based decomposition. By ducking direct questions and using expensive law suits to close down any site that questions their claimed ‘probiotic benefits’ they merely underline the fact that these names are nothing more than modern day ‘quackery’.

    It is well known that our digestive systems produce all the necessary bacteria required to break down food on it’s own (providing a good varied diet is consumed). There is very little likelihood that consuming quantities of similar bacteria will be beneficial and, in fact, could possible unbalance the natural process.

    I also can’t agree with Richard Chapman. Misleading advertising of any product isn’t acceptable on any level regardless of one’s personal preference towards the product.

    Legally Danone are on thin ice anyway by putting their own trade name to bacteria we are all capable of producing ourselves especially when there are real scientific names for these bacteria already.

    Posted by Richard Weston on 20th July 2013

  • Nope, my dear Richard Chapman on 11th January 2013, it is misleading to say anything is clinical or scientifically proven if in fact it does not have any qualified clinical scientific studies associated with it in the USA. That is why Dannon as a company was sued and lost back in 2010. But I agree on one thing, why get so worked up? People have been eating live culture yoghurt for thousands of years and believed it to be good food. Though I do not agree with the misleading advertisements I have to chuckle at the fact that Dannon succeeded getting most people aware of the health benefits of probiotics and as far as I can tell all other brands of yoghurt and probiotic supplements have benefited with their sales thanks to Dannon.

    Posted by verisww on 5th May 2013

  • They should stick it up their backsiidiums regularis. Freedom of speechicus.

    Posted by Anne-Marie on 26th March 2013

  • The bahavior of danone speaks for itself, for sure theres nothing to hide … XD

    Posted by truthseeker on 24th February 2013

  • I eat it, I enjoy it and frankly do not understand why you get worked up about the name of an ingredient. It’s marketing at the end of the day. Seriously, get real people. Have you nothing better to do? If you don’t like it, don’t eat it, simple. Not everyone is out to get you, deceive you, poison you, a bit too paranoid perhaps?

    Posted by Richard Chapman on 11th January 2013

  • Congratulations for standing up to these guys. Food has become so commercialized – it’s just plain nasty. You know, when I was younger, we use to have a phrase: going to the biffy. It means what you think it does. When I first heard the phrase bifidus regularis, I basically *rapped my pant’s laughing. What a joke.

    It’s certainly no joke that they threatened you with made up problems, just like their made-up products and then decline to defend them.

    Who are we to say scams don’t work- they clearly do :)

    Anyway, way-to-go!

    Posted by Elijah Campbell on 11th November 2012

  • Way to stand up to the big corporations and their bullying lawyers! I don’t think it’s right they can make up scientific sounding names. It’s incredibly abhorrent they can patent the production of bacteria we all naturally have and need.

    Posted by Chris C on 22nd October 2012

  • The stuff is bacterium found in the gut, its slightly useful- means you digest a little bit more of the contents of your stomach than normal so its most effective (if at all) in the mornings for clearing the stomach and at night for the same reason. although the amount they put in each “pot” would have minimal to no effect unless eaten in a certain quantity. most of it is purely psychological, we’ve all seen the adverts that claim certain effects and these are pinned into our brains so that when we ingest the product we assume we’ll have such effects ourselves causing the brain to well.. produce said effects as subconsciously ordered by you.

    they’re overpriced with a cheap made up scientific name, its nothing special, basic bacteria from mammalia stomachs that we all have anyway, eat healthily and not the crap most places sell and your bacteria levels will remain high enough to do their magic anyway, the more crap you eat, the more healthy bacteria you kill.

    Posted by Med.student1 on 13th October 2012

  • I have recently been using Activia and so have several members of my family. I started after a long antibiotic treatment was causing some constipation and figured I’d give yogurts a try (never ate them before).
    I’ve never been so regular as with Activia. My son said he’s never pooped so much when he tried it (same with my wife).
    Other yogurts I tried did nothing that I noticed…but I sure noticed a big effect from Activia.
    So what if Danone uses a marketing term? Like other products don’t? That’s up to the marketing people….not the scientists…
    I think our gut was intended to ingest a lot more bacteria than we do now due to all our cooking we do and much more sterile environments. So adding some bacterial cultures to your digestive tract makes a lot of sense to me (and has now been confirmed by my own experimentation on 3 people who all say a huge difference).

    Posted by Mike on 9th May 2012

  • I am not able to digest regular yogurt. This I can eat without complications. My only concern was the contents and long term effects.

    Posted by Hope it is safe on 27th October 2011

  • My brother saw the name “bifidus regularis” on a yogurt container and looked it up. In the past I do not remember ever seeing “regularis” as any kind of scientific name, instead, I remember seeing “[something] acidophilous” on yogurt containers. Yogurt has changed, not only its names for the bacterium for digestion, but some companies or types of yogurts even have high fructose corn syrup…

    Posted by Victoria on 29th September 2011

  • Now their marketing materials recommend eating Activia 3 times a day to achieve optimum benefits. I eat Activia only because I like the flavor of their peach yogurt, but 3 times a day? That’s a little much, even for peach yogut!

    Posted by Anonymous on 12th September 2011

  • I like the stuff, but I like most yogurts. Except Apricot flavour. Nasty little things are Apricot yogurt. I only ever by Danone when my supermarket does buy-one-get-one-free deals. regards the bifidus nonsense, I couldn’t care less.
    But I do care about ice cream. That stuff is good. Oh yeah.

    Posted by Enter your name here on 14th July 2011

  • I just googled this thing after seeing a danone ad, which are still using the bifidus claim. This site was the first hit. My ex was totally drawn into this rubbish, still eats the stuff to this day believing it is real. It’s a yogurt like any other, and nothing more. I will never buy it and I never have either. If nothing else it’s overpriced for what it is. Sorry danone but you rank right up there with the people selling make up who have to air brush their models and make them wear false eye lashes to make people believe their ridiculously overpriced crap works. I will not buy from liars.

    Posted by Tina on 10th July 2011

  • My buddy and I were sitting at the lunch table at work when we heard that ridiculous word. We immediately questioned it. Not everyone is a fool, Danone!

    Posted by John on 8th July 2011

  • Why don’t you ask Dannon if Bifidus Regularis is a strain of genetically modified probiotic. A colleague of mine did and they sent a terse reply without a definitve “yes” or “no” reply to her question.

    Posted by Vickie on 16th April 2011

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. The first time I saw “bifidus regularis” on a commercial I was disgusted – as if a scientist would actually name an organism such an absurd name. “Ah, we have a found a new organism. Let’s call it Bifidus Regularis!” Rediculous. Like Dansworld, I too cringe when I hear it. At least the British could see through it. I, on the other hand, have found most people here in the states never gave it a thought. Oh well. There is always the internet to find like-minded people.

    Posted by Elly on 2nd January 2011

  • I used to admire Jamie Curtis. She looks silly in the Activa ads.

    Posted by larry cousins on 2nd November 2010

  • I just got off th ephone from Dannon as I had not read this site until today. I questioned them about the bifidus regularis as I am writing an article for a local health food store. The end result is they would not admit to making up the species for marketing purposes. They must think we are ignorant here in the United States and can only understand the regularias for the simple mindedness it suggests.

    I , for one, agree buy any good brand yogurt. Personally only organic is the right choice, especially for children. Dannon has gotten away with this long enough.

    Posted by GA Hamilton on 9th August 2010

  • Bravo! Down with Managmentus Ignorentiass & their bovine excrement!

    Posted by Bibs on 8th August 2010

  • There are much better yogurts on the market, sold at fairer prices and that use less packaging than Dannon’s Activia. I find it reprehensible that marketing people would take liberty with the taxonomic nomenclature naming system which was designed centuries ago to prevent confusion over common names, and standardize names of living things across all languages. How arrogant of a yogurt marketer to think they can fool the public. Well, looking at Activia sales figures, I guess they have fooled the public. I will never purchase another Dannon product. I will not be their fool. Any decent yogurt will do exactly the same thing for a person’s digestive system.

    Posted by Christy on 30th July 2010

  • I’m not sure I agree that they’re insulting people’s intelligence or talking down to people. Use of pseudoscientific names in advertising is disturbingly widespread and can’t really be called anything other than a comforting dash of “science” to back up their claims. This isn’t the worst I’ve seen but it is pretty annoying.

    Posted by Peter on 12th July 2010

  • Good for you. I saw the Dannon ad, and realized that the term was clearly a marketing ploy. So I Googled it, and your site was the first hit. While I am sure that their product has its benefits, I resent being treated like an idiot by companies who do this sort of thing, and the net result is that I WILL NOT BUY THEIR PRODUCTS. As I say, not because the product is bad (I don’t know, never will), but because they use these misleading and idiotic tactics. So, heads up Dannon and all the other companies that do this sort of thing: I am one of many who actively boycott companies who insult my intelligence. I also make a point of sending a note to all my contacts when I do this and they, in turn, spread the information. There is nothing like the power of word of mouth.

    Posted by David on 29th April 2010

  • Just wanted to make a comment regarding the actions of Dannon, and how utterly ridiculous it is to begin with. This site was obviously intended to create awareness for the bacteria which benefit our digestive systems,and just so happens to be used by Dannon. I actually found the site doing a search for “bifidus” as I was reading a book on alternate health practices and a compound is mentioned by this name. I agree with Sharman and Dansworld, all the companies using product names that have a scientific “ring” to them and stating the superiority of a product is getting abused. I definitely wouldn’t want to limit our freedom of speech, but I do wish the courts would keep things in check, like striking down lawsuits such as the one the owners of this site have incurred and being generous with counter suits as from the defendants as well. The only time a company should be able to develop a scientific label for a product is the cases in which a new compound is developed or an existing one is metabolized into the active form in the body (a so called pro-drug). Either way, this lawsuit sounds like garbage and I’ll remember to put the Dannon products back and take my money elsewhere. With so many people suffering from digestive disorders, any attempt to disrupt useful information in the name of profit is an outrage.

    Posted by Johnnie M on 12th March 2010

  • I really like the way the “Active Ingedient” has changed through the years as to give a sense of there being a top secret lab somewhere of which has the top scientists from around the world concucting some fabulous food that is so amazing and then someone tweeks it to bring it to perfection.
    If there was some sort of way of banning adverts that have an amazing way of trying to fix something that isn’t broken by just putting a sticker on the packet and saying “hey … Our product has a sticker on it! Thus prooving its an all round better product” I would ban them in a blink of an eye.
    Awesome site by the way. Really like the whole idea and its a shame that companies have such a grasp on the right to freedom of speech when it comes to these things. Oh well thats pride (money) for ya!

    Posted by Joe Sharman on 23rd February 2010

  • I agree completely…I found your website after a websearch for “bifreg” specifically wishing to see if anyone has taken the effort to debunk this clearly fabricated name for what is a natural organism (which already HAD a name). They truly are dumbing down for a specific audience whom they obviously do not credit for having the intelligence to understand the facts. Marketing professionals are usually guilty of slanting the message in their product’s direction by creating some method (fabricated or otherwise) to prove their product’s superiority. I cringe every time I hear that famous spokesperson say the word.

    Posted by Dansworld on 12th February 2010

  • I like the product but, I agree the bifidus word they made up is insulting and is a talking down to people that want to trust the company. Treating people as uneducated and selling a common product with a fancy name. Sadly the product tastes really good. Wish they could just sell it as good tasting yogurt, which is all it is.

    Posted by Donna on 8th February 2010