HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has filed a complaint against Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania alleging the latter of trademark infringement and dilution, false designation of origin and unfair competition.
The complaint stems from Williams-Sonoma’s sale of a chocolate bar brownie pan that features 12 equally-sized rectangular panels arranged in a 4x3 format, with each panel having its own raised borders.
“Hershey has used the Chocolate Bar Design Mark for decades in connection with its flagship Hershey’s chocolate bar product, which is widely distributed and sold and has achieved universal fame and monumental sales, and the design of which is familiar to consumers throughout the United States as indicating Hershey as the source of the product,” according to a May 11 filing by Hershey.
Hershey added that by selling the chocolate bar brownie pan, Williams-Sonoma is infringing the Chocolate Bar Design Mark and unlawfully trading on Hershey’s goodwill and reputation.
“WSI’s infringement of the Marks is likely to cause consumers, purchasers and others to be confused or mistaken into believing that WSI’s infringing products originate with, are sponsored or approved by, emanate from, or are otherwise associated with, Hershey or the source of Hershey’s brand chocolate bars,” Hershey said.
In its complaint Hershey provided comments posted on the Williams-Sonoma web site as evidence of “actual confusion” among consumers, including:
• “You can make your own little Hershey’s miniatures.”
• “There is another special brownie pan from Williams-Sonoma that molds like mini Hershey bars”
• “It’s like a Hershey’s bar with individual brownies.”
Responding to a request from Food Business News, Williams-Sonoma said it does not comment on pending legislation.