Hershey Files Trademark Lawsuit against Candy Importer

By Joseph Mandour on September 16, 2014

candy-reesesSan Diego – There’s nothing sweet about the federal lawsuit The Hershey Company has filed against a candy importer accusing it of infringing famous Hershey trademarks and trade dress. Hershey claims that LBB Imports LLC is bringing in candy that was manufactured overseas and wrapping it in packaging that is similar to Hershey’s most popular brands of candy such as Reese’s, York, Cadbury, Rolo and Kit Kat.

Despite Hersey’s objections, the importer LBB continues to sell its candy under similar brand names and packaging. Hershey alleges in its lawsuit that LBB is intentionally confusing consumers. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Middle District Court in Harrisburg, also alleges that LBB violated prior agreements to stop infringing on Hershey’s popular trademarks. Hershey is seeking unspecified damages, but is asking to be awarded profits the importer has made by infringing on its trademarks.

The stakes could be quite high here given the profits Hershey lists in the lawsuit for its own products. Reese’s candies, the company’s top seller, raked in $7 billion in sales over the last five years, while Kit Kat and Cadbury brought in $1 billion and $500 million respectively over the same period. Hershey has control over these trademarks either directly or through a license.

Hershey is arguing that LBB is “violating its trademark protections by word and appearance.”  For example, LBB’s Rolo and Kit Kat imports use the same name as Hershey candies.  LBB’s packaging is also very similar to the Hershey brands, the lawsuit states.  For example, the packing of LBB’s Toffee Crisp product has the same ubiquitous orange color scheme and packaging found on the popular Reese’s line of candies such as Reese’s Pieces and Peanut Butter Cups.

Hershey is seeking injunctive relief by asking the court to stop this alleged infringement, direct LBB to destroy all products that violate the trademarks, and pay for advertising to correct consumer misunderstanding and repair the harm that has been done to Hershey’s marketing efforts and sales.

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