Hershey is locked in to a trademark dispute with LBB

Hershey is locked in to a trademark dispute with LBB

Hershey has hit LBB Imports with a lawsuit, accusing the US importer of infringing its trademarks.

The confectionery giant has accused LBB of importing confectionery into the US that too closely resembles some of its leading brands, including Reese's.

Hershey's suit focuses on six products. It points to the Cadbury, Kit Kat and Rolo lines imported by LBB that have identical names to products Hershey sells in the US.

Under deals with Mondelez International's Cadbury arm and with Kit Kat and Rolo owner Nestle, Hershey has licences to the trademarks in the US. The company claims the products shipped by LBB infringes those marks.

Hershey also argues the Yorkie and Maltesers lines imported by LBB violate its York and Malteser trademarks.

The sixth product at the heart of the suit is Toffee Crisp. LBB imports the Nestle-brand into the US and Hershey has claimed the product "infringes and dilutes" the trade mark and trade dress of its flagship line, Reese's.

Hershey said it first told LBB of its concerns in 2012. It claims LBB president Nathan Dulley wrote to Hershey in August 2013 and confirmed he agreed to "in principle to stopping the objectionable sales". Hershey also claims Dulley, in further correspondence that month, admitted the sale of the products infringed the company's trademarks. However, LBB, Hershey says, did not stop marketing the products.

"What is more, [the] defendant continues to import and sell the infringing products despite previously admitting that its actions infringed Hershey's trademark rights and repeatedly agreeing to stop its infringing conduct. Hershey brings this suit to prevent LBB from continuing to breach its agreements and to violate Hershey's acknowledged trademark rights," Hershey said in its lawsuit.

Hershey is claiming unspecified damages. LBB was unavailable for immediate comment when approached by just-food.