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Wrigley sues Cadbury over packaging

By Peter Stiff , 28-Feb-2006

Wrigley has filed a lawsuit against Cadbury Adams in the US for violation of its trade dress.

Wrigley is claiming that Cadbury Adams has intentionally replicated its packaging and is therefore seeking damages.

The gum maker filed the complaint with the United States district court in Illinois on 21 February.

 

The trade dress in question relates to specific elements of Wrigley's packaging, which are seen as non-functional, not being essential to the product and not dictated by cost efficiency.

 

That is to say there are certain elements designed by Wrigley to be distinctive and identifying.

 

Both Wrigley and Cadbury have seen their profits in the US grow over the last year, with the chewing gum market booming.

 

Wrigley had 2005 sales in excess of $4bn whilst sales for Cadbury's Americas confectionery business increased by 13 per cent to £1.2bn.

 

Total US chewing gum sales, excluding Wal-Mart sales, stood at $944 million for 2005, up 23 per cent since 2002, according to ACNielson.

 

The alleged infringement concerns Cadbury's Trident and Dentyne brands.

 

Wrigley has declared that Cadbury adopted its packaging with knowledge of Wrigley's trade dress to enhance its own products.

 

The company believes that the similarities in packaging are confusingly similar and likely to cause confusion, with a negative impact on Wrigley.

 

Paragraph 14 of the complaint states:

 

"Cadbury's acts are calculated to deceive, or are likely to deceive, the public who recognize and associates the Wrigley trade dress with Wrigley. Moreover, this conduct is likely to cause confusion, to cause mistake or to deceive the public as to the source of Cadbury's products, or as to a possible affiliation with or sponsorship by Wrigley."

 

Wrigley claim to be suffering from the alleged infringement and believe they will be impacted further, through loss of sales, should an injunction not be made.

 

The company is requesting that the court decrees Cadbury has willfully and knowingly infringed its trade dress.

 

In addition Wrigley is requesting that culpable products and materials are identified, recalled and then destroyed.

 

Furthermore, Wrigley is seeking extensive damages.

 

This is not the first time Wrigley has taken legal action against a competitor.

 

Last year it filed two lawsuits against GumRunners, the US gum manufacture, for breach of its patents.

 

The companies settled the dispute earlier this year.

 

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