Argentina nabs Bazooka Joe

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bazooka Trademark Topps

An Argentine gum manufacturer has been granted the right to
continue making Bazooka gum, despite an acrimonious end to its
business relationship with the Topps company who own the iconic US

Last week's ruling in the US District Courts allows Productos Stani to continue using the secret Topps formula to make the gum even though the original contract between the companies expired in 1996.

The case coincides with a $1.22m (€0.95m) relaunch of the Bazooka brand in the US where Topps has introduced an updated version boasting softer chewing, longer flavour and bigger bubbles.

Under the terms of the original agreement between the companies, Productos Stani was awarded the Argentine rights to the Topps and Bazooka trademarks as well as the formula.

But in 1999 Topps contended that Stani held only the rights to the brand names rather than the specialized technology used to make them.

US District Judge Charles Haight ruled however that this would violate trademark laws.

He said:"A trademark is merely a symbol of goodwill and cannot be sold or assigned apart from the goodwill it symbolizes."

According to the ruling, the relationship between Topps and Productos Stani became fraught when Topps became publicly-owned in 1987.

Judge Haight described the case as:"a tale of two companies, once friends and collaborators, now enemies and scorched-earth litigators."

In 1993, Productos Stani became a part of UK confectionery company Cadbury Schweppes, who now own a 64 per cent share of the Latin American gum sector.

Cadbury Stani owns three of Argentina's top ten selling confectionery brands - Beldent chewing gum, Mantecol and Bazooka, which is the seventh best selling brand in the country.

Topps, who also produce Push Pops, posted yearly gross profits of $95.78m (€74.7m) in February this year.

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