More Extremely Silly Trademark Lawsuits: Mars vs. Hershey Over Totally Different Looking Wrappers

from the you-put-your-chocolate-in-my-trademark-lawyer dept

A ton of people have been submitting variations on this story of how candy company Hershey is suing candy company Mars, claiming that Mars’ new Dove brand of chocolate and peanut butter candies has packaging that looks too much like Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Most of the stories I saw didn’t have any actual images to show, but the link here has the following two images:

And, similar to the recent legal spat we covered concerning beer cans, the wrappers look like they have two totally different designs. Given both of these cases happened in such close proximity, it does make you wonder if consumer goods companies are getting much more aggressive in trying to claim any package that has some incredibly superficial similarities now represents trademark infringement.

Update: As pointed out in the comments, Hershey’s has a couple of newer packages that do appear a bit more similar, but still pretty different:

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Companies: hershey, mars

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Comments on “More Extremely Silly Trademark Lawsuits: Mars vs. Hershey Over Totally Different Looking Wrappers”

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44 Comments
Josef Anvil (profile) says:

The title says it all

Extremely silly lawsuit. Yes a moron in a hurry can tell the difference. Ive been eating Reese’s cups for decades and there is no way I would ever confuse the packaging with the Dove cups. Ummmm Brown vs Orange? Who the hell is confusing them?

If Hershey’s wins this it will be on a settlement to reduce legal costs, but in all fairness, MARS should have enough cash to suffer through this one and hopefully file a countersuit for frivolous litigation.

Dr Michael Factor (user link) says:

Hershy vs. Mars

I have no doubt that there is a market segment of sense-challenged Hershey eaters. The packages are the same size and the same distinctive rectangular shape.

Whilst not the same, orange and brown are after all related colours. They are closer on the palette than primary blue and its complimentary orange.

This reminds me of a decision in Israel relating to allegedly distinctive gold coloured plastic ice cream tubs. See http://blog.ipfactor.co.il/2009/08/06/israel-ice-cream-wars-cool/

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Hershy vs. Mars

I’m color blind, the exact color blindness that you would be referring to. While separately I may have a hard time making out that the Dove package is brown, even to my crappy eyes it’s noticeably different then the Reese’s package.

Just for the fun of it I threw both pictures into Gimp and made them gray scale, they still look completely different.

All the Reese’s packages have that tie-dyed look and all the Dove packages have that liquid chocolate thing going. I can’t see anyone making that kind of mistake unless they were completely blind. And that would be a hole mess of trouble if that argument worked (think any candy bar vs any other candy bar).

I won’t even go into “distinctive rectangular shape”.

Cowardly Anon says:

Ok, with the cans you showed last week, I could see how a moron in a hurry could confuse the two of them. Without taking a closer look I would have assumed they were different flavours of the same brand.

This one on the other hand….wtf? Honestly. Not even a blind person could confuse those two.

I like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…I’m going to be sad when Hershey goes under b/c of money wasting crap like this and I can’t get them any more.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thanks for facilitating my laziness! 😉

I think we’ve gone far beyond the ‘moron in a hurry’ and well into the stoned-outta-his-head-stoner test. Which is funny because a SOHHS wouldn’t care which he has… they’re both edible.

When will it become prohibitively costly in penalties for these frivolous lawsuits to be filed?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I can see where you’re going, but even if there was a case here, wouldn’t it be the other way around? Dove has had that unique look since back when I only remember them making soap (is that the same company?). And when I first saw one of their chocolate commercials, they had that distinct ripply (silky as they say) look.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t think they look the same at all. The only thing similar is that they both have EEEEXTREEEEM TRYBAL INKZ (that’s ‘extreme tribal ink’ for those who don’t speak/read Extreme)all over them. And just about everything marketed to the… which letter are we on for generations now?… use excessive (sorry… ‘Extreme’) amounts of that crap too. So how is a competitor an infringer and a clothing manufacturer with the same design elements not?

okwhen (profile) says:

This is completely off topic however, if anyone is annoyed tape your eyelids open and place chocolate on your eyeball for a few hours and then get back to me. People purchasing items from the Mars corporation are contributing to the cruelty of animals. Mars continues to subject animals to horrific testing all for the sake of candy. Please purchase an alternative.

Not an electronic Rodent says:

Re: perspective

well from a marketer’s perspective I think the packaging shown for the “select” products from Reese’s looks very similar. it looks like they could have been made from the ame template.

What? In as much as the packages are a similar shape, the curved (but different shaped) “design” goes a similar direction the logo is top left and both have an idealised picture of the product on? That’s a bit of a stretch don’t you think? What in those similarities isn’t wholly generic? I know the “morons” are in even more of a hurry these days, but I can’t see any confusion from even the biggest moron in the greatest hurry (well except maybe a lawyer).

Besides when I looked at that I immediately recognised “Dove” as being the american brand name for what’s called “Galaxy” in england and they’ve used a similar style on their packageing over here for ages, which suggests to me it has far more to do with “corporate branding image” than anything else. Just coz they decided to offer another type of filling doesn’t seem a good excuse for a lawsuit.

pesti (profile) says:

Chocolate Lovers

I come from that ever growing community of “Chocolate Lovers”
and I definitely know the difference between a Hershey product and a Dove/Mars. With all the damn consumer surveys they do for everything else, you think that Hershey would spend a little money doing one of those on the subject instead of a lot more on litigation…..Every time I have to spend a $1.50 on something that used to cost .50 cents, I see the day coming that I can no longer afford to indulge. Why can’t big companies like these take note of consumer popularity and loyalty and pass down the perks by spending less on advertisement (*which they hardly need now) and stupid litigation like this one.

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