Business Law Legal Topics

When Is a Chocolate Bar Iconic?

In a recent suit brought under the Lanham Act, Hershey is trying to stop Williams-Sonoma from selling a brownie pan in the design of a Hershey’s chocolate bar, i.e., a rectangle with 12 equally-sized rectangular panels arranged in a 4×3 format, with each panel having its own raised borders. reports that Hershey claims the infringement on its trademark was “purposeful” and “likely to cause consumers, purchasers and others to be confused or mistaken” into thinking the pans are somehow associated with Hershey.

This suit may end up being quite sweet for Hershey, because a successful plaintiff in a Lanham Act action may recover the defendant’s profits or the plaintiff’s damages, which may be trebled in the court’s discretion.

For more on the Lanham Act and trademark infringement generally, see CEB’s book on Trades Secret Practice in California. Also check out CEB’s program on Intellectual Property for Business Lawyers, available On Demand.

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