In sad chocolate news, the Hershey company has signed a deal that will halt the import of British made Cadbury’s chocolate into the United States. In August of 2014, Hershey filed a lawsuit against the company Let’s Buy British Imports (LBB),which is known for their importation of products made in Australia, South Africa and Britain. As part of the lawsuit, Hershey claimed that the importation of certain products, such as the Cadbury chocolates made overseas, was infringing on not only their trade dress licensing but also on their trademarks. One reason that the company feels this way relates to the fact that Hershey’s manufactures an American version of Cadbury, which has a similar packaging design to the ones produced overseas.
Since the lawsuit was filed, LBB has ceased to import the British brands that the Hershey company was objecting to. In a settlement reached last week; the import company agreed to stop not only the importation of all Cadbury products from overseas, but also the British made KitKat bars, Maltesers, Yorkie bars and Toffee Crisps. Much of the problem stems from the packaging for these products, as well as their similarities to certain Hershey products. Toffee Crisps had a package that was too close to that of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, while the Yorkie bars are said to be too much like the York peppermint patty. For fans of the Maltesers, these are too much like the Hershey made product.
Many fans of the British version of Cadbury chocolates are upset by the halt of these imports into the U.S. The lawsuit has sparked outrage for fans of the chocolate, as one specialty store in New York responded to the loss of the British made chocolate in their store. Tea & Sympathy wrote on the stores Facebook page that since legal action was taken by Hershey, they could no longer import the real Cadbury from England. They continued their message by saying they could not sell the American version of Cadbury in their shop, since they had built the store reputation on offering the real English product.
A spokesman for Hershey, Jeff Beckman, spoke about the company and responded to news about the lawsuit and subsequent settlement. Beckman said that Hershey works very hard to protect their intellectual assets, as well as protect themselves against infringement since there is an immense value in the brand itself. He also confirmed that since an agreement had been reached by both parties, with LBB no longer selling the confections deemed to be forbidden, that the original lawsuit had been dropped.
Sadly for fans of the British chocolate, the upcoming holidays will be lacking the real milk chocolate confections. Not only will the upcoming Easter and Valentine’s Day be without the British chocolate; according to the New York Times if Hershey has its way, then the sale of Cadbury in the states will stop permanently. For now with Hershey halting the import of Cadbury from overseas into the U.S., chocolate lovers will have to pick up the American version instead.
By Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Andrea Williams – Flickr License