Jun 13, 2016

Mars Going Nuts in Sweden after M&M Trademark Infringement Decision

Modelez (which is very closely linked to Kraft and includes confectionery and snacks following a spin off - see the Wall Street Journal article for a timeline) has triumphed in a Swedish Court battle against Mars, relating to Modelez's trademark for its "m" logo for its Marabou branded chocolate peanuts.

The Svea Court of Appeal ruled that Mars' marketing of M&M's in Sweden with a lower case "m&m" logo was an infringement of Mondelez's mark.

Background

Mondelez's trademark is for a lower case "m" which is used to market its chocolate covered peanuts in Sweden.

Until 1989, there had been an agreement that Mars would not sell M&M's in Sweden, Norway and Finland. However, this agreement expired and in 2009 Mars started to M&M's in Sweden. M&M's have been sold around the world since the 1940's but were not introduced into Sweden by Mars largely as a result of the agreement with Mondalez. following their introduction into Sweden, Modelez issued court proceedings alleging that Mars' sale of M&M's infringed its trademark.

The Court drew a distinction between lower and upper case "m"s and ruled that Mars' used of a lower case "m" or the combined name "m&m" to market its product was confusingly similar to Mondelez's mark and infringed the same.

Further information on the history between the parties can be found in an article from a Swedish paper The Local here.

If you have any questions about trademarks or intellectual property rights in general do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com

in: Case Law, EU/International, News, Trade Marks

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