[Alternate headlines: “BREAKING NEWS: Hershey’s Is Basically Doing the Boston Tea Party But With Chocolate”; “BREAKING NEWS: Something Something Something Something Bollocks!”; “BREAKING NEWS: In Off-Colour Move, Hershey’s Gives British Candy Flavourful Departure”]
Thanks to an alert from loyal readers Marin Bar and Regan Bar, it’s come to my attention that Hershey’s is making all American importers of fine British chocolates cease their importing of said fine British chocolates, on the grounds of trademarks and regional licensing.
Jeff Beckman, a representative for Hershey’s, said L.B.B. and others were importing products not intended for sale in the United States, infringing on its trademark and trade dress licensing. For example, Hershey’s has a licensing agreement to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate in the United States with similar packaging used overseas, though with a different recipe.
“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” Mr. Beckman said in an email. [New York Times]
There are lots of words for this — silly, petty, quintessentially American, disappointing, C’mon Man! — but the one I’m going to use is “rubbish”.
Is Hershey’s really hurting so much as to desperately need the British-ex-pats-and-college-juniors-just-back-from-their-semester-abroad market back? What is there to gain from this? I will grant that I still have some confusion surround what Cadbury may or may not be, but I’ve never, ever thought, “You know, that product package is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress, and I now do not know which Hershey name or trade dress I intend to purchase and devour.”
Before this story broke, I had no interest whatsoever British chocolates (I would have come around to them eventually as a result of this blog, but “interest” is not a word I would use to describe my feelings on the topic), and it would have proven difficult to get me to trust something called a “dairy milk”. Now, I couldn’t want to buy it more! [Ed. note: I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING HERE, YOU MONSTERS.]
I have half a mind to boycott Hershey’s on principle, as, in the words of an unnamed source, “it’s a pretty dick move.” Unfortunately, given that they make about 70 different types of candy bar and it would be doing the candy game a significant disservice if I neglected all of them, I can’t do that.
But I can announce the first of what I hope to be many Breaking Off A Piece themed weeks: In an act of solidarity, Feb. 16-22 will mark Great Britain Week, where I plan to eat the shit out of some British candy bars and revel in the usage of the word “bloody”.
So what I should try? I’m going to make my import order this Thursday; if you have a suggestion, leave it in the comments.
Oh, and I ate a bag on M&M’s Peanuts yesterday. But you know what those taste like, and we’ll talk about them at a later date.