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Hershey in legal wrangle with carpet firm over Kisses trademark

By Oliver Nieburg+

07-Feb-2013
Last updated the 08-Feb-2013 at 11:06 GMT

Hershey believes carpet firm Shaw has infringed its trademark on Hershey Kisses. Photo Credit: Flickr - naplesrealestate
Hershey believes carpet firm Shaw has infringed its trademark on Hershey Kisses. Photo Credit: Flickr - naplesrealestate

The Hershey Company has become embroiled in a trademark dispute with carpet firm Shaw Industries over the latter’s use of “Chocolate Kiss” as a color name for carpet collections.

Shaw Industries has sought a declaration in a district court in Georgia to say that its use of 'Chocolate Kiss' does not violate Hershey’s Kisses chocolate trademark.

Shaw seeks legal ruling

Hershey Kisses is among the leading chocolate brands in the US, while Shaw is a leading carpet, rug and flooring company in the US with an international presence.

In its request for declaratory judgment, Shaw said that it had used the name 'Chocolate Kiss' for a particular carpet color for over two decades.

Letter exchange

Hershey is alleged to have written to one of Shaw’s distributors in December last year and demanded the distributor stop using the 'Chocolate Kiss' name.

Shaw said it responded to Hershey in January this year, telling the chocolate firm that it was unlikely that its carpet color name would be confused with Hershey’s trademark. It also said that it planned to phase the 'Chocolate Kiss' color name in June 2013.

Hershey’s lawyers then claimed Shaw’s use of the term would cause confusion and asked for a written agreement to say Shaw would stop using the term immediately and would surrender any allegedly infringing items.

Hershey to defend

Hershey head of corporate communications Jeff Beckman told ConfectioneryNews.com: "We vigorously defend our iconic brands and will enforce our trademark rights."

Shaw was contacted for comment, but failed to respond prior to publication.

The case marks the second time Hershey has been in legal disagreement with a furniture firm having sued Art Van Furniture in 2008 for using a design featuring chocolate bar wrapping that allegedly looked similar to Hershey’s on its delivery trucks. See HERE.

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