The Real Reason Hershey Is Being Sued Over Its Iconic Chocolate Kisses

Any chocolate lover will be able to tell you about some of the best offerings from Hershey, a brand that has been making delectable chocolate for many years. One of its most popular creations? Hershey's Kisses. According to Cheapism, Hershey's Kisses have been around since 1907. These tiny treats were wrapped by the company's staff members (a process Cheapism describes as "painstaking") until 1921, when the company decided to start using machines.

This bite-sized chocolate is more legendary than you think: the company once created a giant Hershey's Kiss that weighed over 30,000 pounds in 2007 and earned the company a Guinness World Record. This was done to mark the chocolate's 100th anniversary. A fan of the chocolate wrote on Reddit, "I get Hershey's Kisses a lot...personally I have to be careful, sometimes with these small treats I can go overboard."

Despite this storied history, the brand is currently dealing with an unexpected controversy. Per Reuters, Hershey's Kisses is now being sued by a cookie brand in California.

The shape of the chocolate is being questioned

As Reuters reports, Hershey's has been taken to court by a California-based company called The Cookie Department, Inc. The trademark lawsuit came about in response to Hershey's claim (and subsequent threat to file a lawsuit of their own) that an image on Cookie Department's package design looks too similar to the Hershey's Kiss and closely resembles its "conical configuration." Cookie Department claims that this is, in fact, a universal symbol that has been used to signify generic chocolate chips for a long time. 

Cookie Department has used this teardrop chocolate chip design for one of its products since 2009. Basically, the company wants a judge to clarify that it hasn't violated any copyright laws. It goes on to add that Hershey's threat to sue is nothing but a "strategic ploy" to divert attention from its lawsuit that accuses Hershey of using the line "Tough Cookies Only" for one of its products: the One protein bar. A bit of context: Hershey acquired ONE brands in 2019, as per Forbes. The Cookie Department had already been using the "tough cookie" phrase to market its own "nutritious protein cookie," Food Business News notes. Seems like a pretty messy situation, huh?