The Candy Bar War: Toblerone v. Poundland

The Candy Bar War: Toblerone v. Poundland

With the holidays here, sweets and treats are usually on everyone’s mind. Apparently, that is no exception when it comes to the courts.

As the NY Times reports, two candy makers; a British discount chain called Poundland and the popular Swiss candy Toblerone, ended a three-month legal battle in October which resulted in a delay of a new candy offering from Poundland coming to market.

Last year Toblerone, now owned by the American conglomerate Mondelez International, redesigned their classic candy bar by slimming down the summits and widening the valleys between them. This resulted in a lighter weight although their price remained the same. Seeing an opportunity, Poundland designed a candy bar, with similar peaks and troughs, however, the bar would be chunkier and cheaper than Toblerone, costing only one pound, or about $1.35. It would also come wrapped in a golden wrapper with red lettering, mimicking the iconic look of the Toblerone wrapping as well.

Due to these similarities, Mondelez challenged the British company’s right to make the candy bar. Poundland contends that their peaks and troughs were inspired by “two less vertiginous hills in the English county of Shropshire near the border with Wales — the Ercall, at 460 feet, and the Wrekin, at 1,335 feet.” While it is common knowledge that Toblerone’s peaks are inspired by the Matterhorn which stands at about 14,690 feet.

This is why maintains Poundland, the candy bar has two summits instead of just one, as well as the name “Twin Peaks”. Additionally, Poundland argues that Toblerone had “lost its right to exclusivity since it had ceased to be distinctive enough to claim a valid trademark.”

In the end, it resulted in a compromise. Poundland was allowed to sell the 500,000 bars already in production, however they had to change the color of the wrappers from gold to blue and the lettering to gold form the original red. They also conceded that they will “revisit the shape” of the bar so that it “better represents the outline of the Wrekin and Ercall hills.” How is that for a sweet ending?

Share this entry
LLM unifies the legal process by combining legal holds, case strategy, matter and budget management, review and analytics in a single, web-based platform. We connect legal strategy to tactics in a way no one else can, so every part of the process is actionable. Our product scales to help corporate and law firm teams gain cost-savings and eliminate inefficiencies.
Send this to a friend