Hershey, the maker of treats such as Mr. Goodbar and Krackel, has
filed a federal lawsuit saying the state senator's re-election
campaign optics violate trademark law.
The colors and lettering on the Queen Anne's County legislator's
signs appear nearly identical in style to the Hershey chocolate
bar's distinctive logo.
"Our brand trademarks are among our most important and valuable
assets," Hershey Company spokesman Jeff Beckman said in a statement
Misuse of its brand trademarks "may mislead consumers into believing
that Steve Hershey is somehow affiliated with or endorsed by The
Hershey Company," Beckman said.
Hershey and the chocolate company have clashed for a number of
years. Hershey first used the similar logo style in 2002 while
running for a county commissioner seat.
In 2008, Hershey used it again in a bid for election to the House of
Delegates. In both cases, Hershey Company sent him cease-and-desist
In documents filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore last Friday,
the chocolate maker is asking that Hershey pay all legal costs,
recall all campaign material, and not use the word "Hershey" in
block letters or on a brown or maroon background.
[to top of second column]
In a statement, the lawmaker said the complaint was "orchestrated by
my opponent" and that in past years "I have used my given birth
name, Hershey, on brown background signs with the knowledge and
permission of the Hershey Company."
"The Hershey Company’s allegations raise serious questions about
infringing on my constitutional rights of freedom of speech," he
(Editing by Ian Simpson and Gunna Dickson)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.