The Hershey Company has won a preliminary injunction to prevent Maryland state senator Steve Hershey from using signs to promote his campaigns that allegedly infringe the chocolate company’s trademarks.
A US district court in Maryland last week said that Steve Hershey could not use brown signs with ‘Hershey’ written in white lettering while the case proceeds.
Dating back to 2002
Republican Steve Hershey, now Maryland state senator, ran for county commissioner of Queen Anne’s country in 2002. He promoted his campaign with signs that used a design with a dark brown background and ‘Hershey’ printed in bold white font.
Chocolate firm Hershey wrote to Mr Hershey asking him to stop using the signs.
The senator stopped after the elections but began using similar signs in 2010. The Hershey Company agreed that the senator could use existing campaign materials for primary elections, but must stop for the general elections.
In April this year Steve Hershey began campaigning for the state senate using a logo with the Maryland flag with a dual brown background and ‘Hershey’ written in white.
The Hershey Company sued Steve Hershey in June this year for federal trademark infringements and breach of contract.
Steve Hershey proposed a modified version of his campaign signs that included the phrase “Our senator, not Big Chocolate…we’re not confused.” Hershey meanwhile filed for a preliminary injunction, which was granted last week.
Preliminary injunctions are granted when claimant’s trademark infringement claims are likely to succeed.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the Hershey Company pledged $6,500 to Democrat Congressman in 2014 and $14,100 to Republican members. Its spending on US senators was also greater for the Republican party, but it has not financially backed Steve Hershey.