BUDGET retail chain Poundland is set to argue in the UK courts that Toblerone reduced the value of its trade mark when it redesigned its famous chocolate bar last year.
Poundland announced in June that it was releasing its own similarly mountain-inspired chocolate bar called Twin Peaks, but halted the product’s release following the receipt of a legal letter from Mondelez International, the makers of Toblerone.
At the time, the British chain did not deny the influence of Mondelez’ famous product – whose shape is protected by a registered UK 3D trade mark – but rather positioned it as a response to a redesign that had not been well received by the store’s customers.
The dispute between Poundland and Mondelez has now escalated to the High Court of Justice. In Poundland’s defence, the company argues that Toblerone’s trade mark has been “irretrievably abandoned” by its redesign, which damaged the bar’s reputation.
The new-look Toblerone, which hit UK shelves in November last year, saw the gaps between the bar’s signature peaks widened. It was dubbed “wrong” and “austerity Toblerone” by tetchy social media users.
In its claim, Mondelez is arguing that Poundland has infringed its trade mark both through the shape of the bar and its packaging, which sees a gold, prism-shaped wrapper stamped with a mountain logo.
It says that Twin Peaks is “deceptively and confusingly similar” to Toblerone, while Poundland argues “no member of the relevant public would mistake one for the other”.
Unlike Toblerone, whose pyramidal shape is said to be inspired by the Alps’ iconic Matterhorn, Poundland’s chocolate bar has a double peak that the company claims is borrowed from Wrekin Hill in Shropshire.