UK expats react to American Hershey chocolate lawsuit

UK expats living in the US have hit the shelves in an attempt to buy every bit of the “proper” Cadbury chocolate they can find.

In a bid to protect their intellectual property, US chocolate giant Hershey Inc., based out of Pennsylvania, has successfully won a lawsuit to block British Cadbury chocolate from being sold in the US.

Hershey Inc. says selling imported British Cadbury in the US creates “brand confusion” for consumers and sued the British company for dilution and trademark infringement arguing that some of their packaging was too similar to the US brands and thus, confuses people.

Let’s Buy British Imports (LLB Imports), the British Cadbury company, have agreed to stop importing their British recipe Cadbury products, including Maltesers.

LBB Imports President, Nathan Dulley, says they sell approximately $50 million of British Cadbury chocolate in the US each year, a drop in the bucket compared to Hershey Inc.’s annual chocolate sales of $6 billion.

Although he agrees Hershey Inc. has merit, he believes it’s petty and that the US chocolate company should have allowed LLB Imports to continue with their niche UK market.

“We did attempt to make an agreement. Ultimately, these decisions do affect small businesses across the country,” Dulley says. “At end of the day you’re talking about a $6 billion (£4 billion) behemoth – both businesses should be able to coexist.”

Cadbury chocolate varies from country to country. In the UK, the first main ingredient in their classic Dairy Milk bar is milk. In the US, it’s sugar.

While Hershey executives did comment saying they’d asked LLB Imports numerous times to stop importing their chocolate brand, they have not commented on the social media boycott that’s resulted from the lawsuit.

More than 30,000 people have joined in the US Hershey chocolate boycott. Social media #BoycottHershey consists of online petitions, including one posted on the website of the White House.