Hershey (Maryland Politician) Sued by Hershey (Chocolate Company)

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Image via the U.S. District Court/the Baltimore Sun
Image via the U.S. District Court/the Baltimore Sun

You know, if my last name was the same as a famous candy company and I was running for office, I would probably try to make my campaign signs evoke the famous chocolate bars, too. But when District 36 State Senator Stephen Hershey (who represents parts of Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s counties) allegedly did just that, he found himself slapped with a big fat lawsuit,

According to the AP, the chocolate company is arguing that Stephen Hershey’s use of a brown background and silver and white writing in a recognizably Hershey-chocolate-ish font amounts to trademark infringment. Stephen Hershey is fighting back on “constitutional rights” (presumably first amendment) grounds.

Believe it or not, Hershey chocolate has been mad about politician Hershey for more than a decade at this point. Back in 2002, when he was running for county commissioner, they actually wrote him and asked that he stop using Hershey-esque designs for his campaign materials. Which he did… for a time.

Now that the candidate has reverted to his copyright-adjacent graphic design, the candy company is trying to get a judge to bar (ha!) him from using their shared name “in block text or on a brown or maroon background.”  Which seems a little petty, admittedly–but on the other hand, they already did ask him to stop once.



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