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Trade mark delays launch of rival product

It is being reported that UK high street discount retailer, Poundland, has been forced to delay the launch of its new Twin Peaks chocolate bar after receiving a legal letter from Mondelez, the owner of Toblerone.

After the uproar caused by the shrinking of the Toblerone chocolate bar at Christmas, savvy discount retailer Poundland had thought it would fill the chocolate gap in the market. By increasing the space between each chocolate ‘segment’ in its 400g and 170g bars, Toblerone cut the weight of the bars to 360g and 150g respectively to maintain the same price point whilst covering rising ingredient costs.

The 170g bar had been one of Poundland’s best sellers. Noting the reaction from its customers, the retailer announced in June that it would be selling a chocolate bar, not with the single mountainous chunks of the iconic Toblerone, but with two chunks instead, earning the chocolate bar the name Twin Peaks. The cost would remain at £1, but customers get 30g more chocolate than when they buy the Swiss version.

The launch, which was due to take place at the beginning of July, has only been delayed according to Poundland director Barry Williams, who said that the chocolate bar was still in development.

With different trade marks, packaging, shape of the goods (supposedly being based on the Wrekin, a hill in Shropshire, rather than the Matterhorn mountain) and price points, whilst Twin Peaks may allude or ‘call to mind’ a Toblerone chocolate bar, it may be hard for Mondelez to argue that there is a likelihood of confusion, a likelihood of association or the trinity for finding passing off.

In fact, given the recent decisions in the Nestlé cases, Mondelez may want to tread carefully with its shape trade mark, for the risk of Poundland or anyone else applying to invalidate its registration.

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