Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court

Mars has filed a lawsuit against US confectionery firm Hershey over its Malteser product, which it claims is "passing off" as Mars' own popular Maltesers brand.

Hershey: US firm has owned the trademark for Malteser since 1998
Hershey: US firm has owned the trademark for Malteser since 1998

Hershey sells its Malteser chocolate-covered malt ball product in red packaging, having owned the trademark for ‘Malteser’ – without the "s" – since 1998, while Mars has sold its 75-year-old Maltesers brand in red packaging since 1978.

Mars, which never registered a trademark, claims the move is simply designed to prevent it from selling Maltesers in the US in competition with Hershey’s Whoppers brand, which are also milk chocolate-covered malt balls.

As a result, Mars has filed a complaint at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, seeking a "permanent injunction" against Hershey’s use of the Malteser mark, along with damages for lost profits.

Mars said in the lawsuit: "Hershey did not actually develop a unique product under the Malteser mark. Hershey sporadically passes off Whoppers candy as Malteser candy — selling Whoppers under the Malteser mark, without disclosing the switch to consumers — merely to reserve rights to the Malteser name."

A Hershey spokesman dismissed Mars’ claims as "without merit". He added: "The Hershey Co. has owned the Malteser trademark in the United States for more than 15 years. We intend to vigorously defend against this groundless litigation."

Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.

SUBSCRIBE

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now
Omnicom shuts M2M in UK after account losses
Share

1 Omnicom shuts M2M in UK after account losses

Omnicom has shut its media agency M2M in the UK following a string of account losses and Alistair MacCullum, the chief executive of M2M, is stepping down.

Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats
Shares0
Share

1 Brands that forge an emotional tie are best protected from copycats

Forging an emotional tie with consumers is one of the strongest ways to protect your brand. Products can be copycatted, but the distinctive identity of a true brand can never be replicated argues Nir Wegrzyn, CEO of BrandOpus.

Just published