Is a brownie likely to be confused with a chocolate? We haven’t faced such a vexed culinary/legal question since we wrestled with “Is a burrito a sandwich?” (It’s not, in case you were wondering.)
This, however, is the question judges will address in a lawsuit between Hershey Co. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in which Hershey alleges that Williams-Sonoma’s chocolate-bar-themed brownie pan infringes on its trademark rights. Specifically, Hershey alleges that Williams-Sonoma’s brownie pan employs a rectangle-within-rectangle design that mimics Hershey’s distinctive design used in connection with its chocolate bars.
Here’s a look at the respective designs:
Finally, I’ll go out on a limb with this, but I would venture that articles from CelebrityWeddingBuzz.com don’t often make it into federal court litigation, but this case is perhaps an exception to the rule. Hershey’s complaint attaches as an exhibit an article from the website discussing actress Zooey Deschanel’s wedding registry, which makes the following observation: “Being a chocoholic, I went nuts over this chocolate bar brownie pan. It bakes one giant brownie that snaps into 12 easily sharable chunks like a Hershey’s bar.”