Decade long chocolate feud has come to a sweet mmm…

 In Branding, Court decision, Infringement, Trademark, Trademark law

After almost a decade, the world-famous chocolate feud between Mondelēz (previously Kraft Foods, also known as Marabou) and Mars over their respective trademarks “m” and “m&m’s” has come to an end.

Up until 1998, the companies had a co-existing agreement that gave Mondelēz exclusive rights in Sweden, Norway and Finland, while Mars had exclusive rights in all other countries. Even though the agreement expired, it was not until 11 years later, in 2009, that Mars launched its chocolate brand ”m&m’s” on the Swedish market.

After several rounds in court, the Court of Appeal determined in 2016 that Mars was in fact infringing on Mondelēz with its m&m’s brand. However, it was found that it is not the letter itself that Mondelēz has exclusive rights to, only a lowercase m. The visual similarity between m and M is not enough to be considered as confusing, meaning that Mars can sell its product with uppercase M’s, as “M&M’s”.

Following the decision of the Court of Appeal, Mondelēz sued Mars at The Patent and Market Court (PMD) and claimed SEK 35 million in damages for trademark infringement. But now, one year later, a settlement has been reached between the parties and the lawsuit is revoked. A sweet ending for all chocolate fans regardless which kind of Mmm you prefer.

Otmore provides proactive trademark strategies to companies of all sizes and in all industries. We ensure that your brand is protected, enabling you to focus on launching and marketing. Contact us if you want to know more!

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