The Cocoa Wars!

Two premier chocolate brands recently locked horns in the market. Hotel Chocolat alleged that Waitrose had launched a luxury chocolate bar which was deceptively similar to its trademark chocolate bars. The firm also got backing from a fellow chocolatier ‘Choc on Choc’ which believes that Waitrose’s Easter eggs are deceptively similar to their own. Waitrose, of course, denied all allegations in this regard despite the fact that all their bars are about the same size as that of Hotel Chocolat’s and also have the distinct wavy edges as they do as opposed to the straight edges the usual chocolate bars possess, which does make the two products deceptively similar. When Hotel Chocolat witnessed the inactivity and denial on the part of Waitrose they decided to take a drastic and somewhat unusual measure to provoke action. They started to offer ‘amnesty’ to their customers by exchanging their £3.96 chocolate bars against the £2 luxury bars sold by Waitrose. The Hotel Chocolat founders stated that the customers only bought the Waitrose bars thinking they were Hotel Chocolat’s and they shouldn’t be duped by sugar-filled bars rather than the ones which have genuine cocoa in them. This unfalteringly caught the attention and interest of Waitrose. Instead of deciding to settle the dispute in the court of law, the two chocolatiers met ‘for a cup of cocoa’ and settled the matter. Waitrose was allowed to sell the existing stock of its luxury bars as opposed to the normal demand for the destruction of all infringing material so as to avoid wastage of food on a large scale. Waitrose in turn has agreed to stop the manufacturing of these particular luxury bars. However, they state that they have not plagiarized or infringed upon Hotel Chocolat’s product in any way but they decided to take the amicable way out to not lead the matter to the courts. This was the second time the chocolate world was shaken by such allegations. The previous instance was between Poundland and Mondelez, the latter alleged that the former’s twin peaks bar was a rip-off of the famous Toblerone bars. The two parties, however, settled the dispute rather than pursuing it further in the courts.

Author: Yashvi Padhya, Intern at IP and Legal Filings, and can be reached at

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