Fans of triangular chocolate bars will be relieved to hear that the ongoing dispute between Poundland and Mondelez has finally been settled.
The disagreement regarding trademarking was related to Poundland’s “Twin Peaks” bar, which drew comparisons with the Toblerone bar manufactured by Mondelez.
Although both feature triangular chunks, the Poundland bar consists of rows of twin triangular chunks rather than the solitary pieces as found in its rival. Poundland claims that the inspiration for the shape of its own product is the double peak on the top of the Wrekin Hill in Shropshire.
Previously, Poundland defended its product as being different from the Swiss bar by highlighting the recent cost-cutting measure to widen out the triangular Toblerone chunks. The change in shape to reduce the amount of chocolate in each bar, argued Poundland, meant that the snack was different to the one which received intellectual property protection.
Crucially for chocolate lovers, the terms of the settlement are such that Poundland is being permitted to sell the 500,000 bars that it has already manufactured. Shoppers, however, will need to be eagle-eyed as the packaging has had to be changed, and sales are only permitted during the month of December. Any sales taking place in 2018 will need to be for a redesigned bar.
Although this case raises important intellectual property issues, the backdrop is of a complex commercial relationship, given that Poundland is a substantial retailer of Toblerone products. That issue aside, for a product or service to remain distinctive, intellectual property protection is crucial.
For further information on how best to protect your own products, services, and branding, contact Pinney Talfourd’s Commercial Department – email us by using the form to the right.This article was written by Edward Garston, a company commercial solicitor at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors. The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Specific legal advice should be taken on each individual matter. This article is based on the law as of December 2017.