Another day, another American company pulls some blatant fuckery involving trademarks and threatened lawsuits with an end goal of limiting the options of American consumers and forcing people to buy their product over a clearly superior alternative. Boy, I'm shocked they keep trying this shit.
This time it's the Hershey's corporation, whom you may remember from their support of child slave labor in Africa as recently as early 2014. Using the threat of a massive lawsuit, Hershey's has succeeded in bullying British chocolate importers, most notably Let's Buy British Imports, into refusing to import numerous candies, most notably Cadbury bars, under badly-intentioned but probably accurate claims of trademark infringement. See, Hershey's has (for some inexplicable reason) license to make Cadbury bars in America using an entirely different recipe than its British counterparts, one which resembles a chocolate bar significantly less than it does weasel poop.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: the law is probably on Hershey's side here, at least when it comes to Cadbury products (hold that thought until we get to the other blacklisted candies, though); we don't have a definitive answer for certain, since Let's Buy British Imports caved under threat of a lawsuit, but we can safely assume that when it comes to Cadbury, they had a solid case. At the same time, if that is true, it's indicative of just how screwed-up American trademark law really is — it's true, but it sure as hell isn't right. Most aspects of the legal system take intent into account, but it's unclear whether trademark disputes do so. That's relevant in this case, because Hershey's claim that the lawsuit is "to prevent consumers from being confused or misled" is a naked lie, and anyone who tries to dispute that is objectively wrong. Hershey's doesn't give a shit about the American consumer; if they did, they wouldn't keep passing off condensed tile grout as chocolate.
If you need more evidence of how this whole thing is a complete farce (you shouldn't, but some of you will, because some of you are terrible), British candies Toffee Crisp, Yorkies, and Maltesers are also on the non-importable list because they supposedly "too closely resemble" the packaging on American candy. Toffee Crisp is too similar to Reese's, which I guess means Hershey has trademarked the color orange, so the popular citrus fruit should probably ready its legal team. Maltesers' packaging, meanwhile, apparently too closely resembles Whoppers, by which I mean it is a completely different color and has an entirely different box design — but in fairness, beige and bright red are so close to each other on the color wheel that they might as well be the same thing. If you can figure out which American candy Yorkie supposedly looks like, you win a prize.*
Let's Buy British Imports is also to blame here, because they apparently learned nothing from the Hampton Creek-Unilever incident, which Hampton Creek ultimately won by shining a light Unilever's bullying.** These corporations love to operate in blatantly unethical but technically legal territory (because if corporations are people, they are also sociopaths), but they react like the societal vampires they are as soon as someone shines a spotlight on their horseshit. At the very least, they could've pushed the angle that the Hershey's corporation were big fans of child slave labor. Instead, they rolled over. I understand why they did it when it comes to Cadbury, but regarding the other candies, Hershey's has no viable case, so what gives?
In conclusion: fuck you and your shitty products, Hershey's. Your company is despicable and your product is complete crap.
* The prize is a piece of paper on which I've written "FUCK YOU, HERSHEY'S CORPORATION, I HOPE ALL YOUR EXECUTIVES GET ASS CANCER" in capital letters, with a smiley face at the bottom.
** Naner naner naner fucking naner to anyone who tried to argue that Unilever was in the right on that one.
Image via dcwcreations/Shutterstock. Pink quotation marks around "Chocolate" added by me using MS Paint, because I am just that computer-savvy.