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Hershey Sues, Says Williams-Sonoma Brownie Pan Copied Iconic Chocolate Bar

Posted May 18, 2010 3:58 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Brownie pan in Williams-Sonoma online catalog.

Hershey Co. has filed a Lanham Act claim against a well-known supplier of upscale kitchen accoutrements, contending that a brownie pan being marketed by Williams-Sonoma Inc. violates trademark law by copying the design of its iconic chocolate bar.

The brownie pan is shaped in twelve rectangles, just like a Hershey bar, triggering an association in customers' minds with the company's famous chocolate candy, contends Hershey in a federal suit filed in Harrisburg, Pa., near the company's headquarters. And the defendant also "embodies and mimics" the company's trademarked design, the suit says, by packaging the brownie pan in a manner intended to make it look like a Hershey bar, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

Williams-Sonoma, which declined a request by the legal publication to comment on the suit, says in a website listing about the brownie pan that it "creates one large brownie or cake, scored into 12 embossed chocolate-bar shapes."

Hershey says customer confusion about the Williams-Sonoma brownie pan is clear from Web comments, some of which directly liken brownies made in the pan to a Hershey bar.

The company, which is seeking a court order barring further sales of the brownie pan, is represented by Kaye Scholer and McNees Wallace & Nurick.

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