2 December 2020TrademarksRory O' Neill

Hershey’s sued over ‘low-quality’ chocolate brand

Global chocolate maker  The Hershey Company is facing trademark infringement claims over its seasonal Vampire Kisses product, as well as questions over the quality of its chocolate.

California-based  Vampire Family Brands claims that Hershey’s Halloween-themed product infringes its own (allegedly superior) Vampire Fine Belgian Chocolate brand.

Hershey’s Kisses is one of the company’s most famous brands. This year, the company unveiled a strawberry-filled version for the Halloween season.

The use of the word ‘vampire’ prompted the California chocolatier, which owns trademark rights for the term to use for wine and chocolate, to sue Hershey’s at the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Vampire Family said in a court filing that the cocao in its products were among the “highest available and qualitatively speaking, it is in the ranks of the finest chocolates from Belgian and Switzerland”.

“At the lowest end of the extreme of quality chocolates is Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s chocolates in general,” the filing said.

It continued: “Hershey’s Kisses clearly are not good chocolate, and to a purist, are not actually chocolate at all due to their low level of cocao.”

Vampire Family says it enjoys “extremely valuable goodwill” in its chocolate brands, and does not want consumers to confuse its product with Hershey’s offering.

“A box of 25 one-ounce bars of Vampire Fine Belgium Chocolate is $69.95. By contrast, 9 ounces of the accused product sells for approximately $3 at Target. The vast difference in pricing reflects the vast difference in quality as well,” the filing said.

Vampire Family is seeking an injunction barring Hershey’s from using the term ‘Vampire’ in its chocolate branding, as well as an award of profits for the alleged infringement.

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