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Hershey has filed a lawsuit against Maryland state senator Steven S. Hershey Jr., who is using the company’s iconic chocolate bar logo for his campaign signs. The company says that Hershey Jr. did not have the right to use a sign that looks very similar to the more familiar logo.
The Associated Press reports that the company filed the lawsuit in federal court, claiming that he is improperly using material that looks very similar to the logo.
Both Hershey Jr.’s signs and the chocolate bar logo share the same font for the word “Hershey,” but the candidate replaced the words “milk chocolate” with “state senate.” The candidate’s logo also features a two-tone brown background that resembles the Maryland flag instead of Hershey’s solid brown color.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Hershey Jr. believes that the court will side with him, stating, “The Hershey Company's allegations raise serious questions about infringing on my constitutional rights of freedom of speech, freedom of association, and participation as a candidate in the political process.”
But Hershey is clearly annoyed with Hershey Jr., who the company said had already agreed with them once to stop using a logo that looked just like its own. The two had a dispute back in 2002 when Hershey Jr. was running for another state office, then again in 2010 when he started using the logo again.
“Hershey has tried to resolve this matter outside of court and Senator Hershey even promised that he would cease use of the Hershey's trade dress, yet Senator Hershey continues to use the famous Hershey's trade dress to promote his campaign,” the company’s lawyer stated. Hershey’s lawyers do not agree with Hershey Jr.’s assessment that the two-tone brown Maryland should distinguish his logo enough from the company’s.
“It is apparent that the overall resulting design is a confusingly similar knockoff of, and unlawful colorable imitation of, the famous and iconic Hershey Trade Dress,” Hershey’s lawyers wrote.