Easter chocolates (and the Easter chocolate trademarks) are big business. It’s estimated that 50 million Cadbury Creme Eggs will be sold in the U.S. this year. Who is selling the Cadbury Creme Eggs in the U.S. and how they taste on this side of the pond is at issue. Evidently, Hershey owns the rights to make and sell Cadbury Creme Eggs (probably via an exclusive trademark licensing deal with Cadbury U.K.). As per a recent PBS article, Hershey paid $300 million dollars for these trademark rights back in 1988 and has been enforcing the exclusive distribution rights to the dismay of British Cadbury loyalists. Hershey’s enforcement has ruffled feathers of small shops that import and sell the British Cadbury chocolates.
Hershey’s position is that small shops (or shops of any size) should purchase the Cadbury Creme Eggs through them because they “own” the right to make and sell the chocolates here in the United States. The British Cadbury loyalists who import and sell Cadbury made in the U.K. want to have their British Cadbury and eat it too! It will be interesting to see how this dispute plays out.
The International Trademark Association provides a fact sheet on trademark licensing at: http://www.inta.org/TrademarkBasics/FactSheets/Pages/TrademarkLicensing.aspx
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
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See also: Why some Cadbury-lovers are bitter that they can’t buy their favorite sweets at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/tag/hershey/; more posts on exclusive trademark rights at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/trademark-exclusive/ @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.