WASHINGTON (AP) — The Hershey company says a Maryland candidate is milking its classic chocolate bar for political gain.
Hershey's is suing state Sen. Stephen S. Hershey Jr., accusing him of improperly using signs and other campaign materials that mimic the look of a Hershey's candy bar.
The company says in the federal lawsuit filed Friday that the candidate's brown, rectangular campaign logo with white writing imitates the Hershey's bar packaging with its brown background and silver and white writing. Both use similar lettering for the word "Hershey," which appears in all capital letters in the center of both designs, but where the chocolate bar says "milk chocolate," the politician's logo says "state senate."
Unlike the chocolate bar, the candidate's logo has a two-tone brown background in the pattern of the state flag.
But the candy company says in its lawsuit filed in Maryland that the combination of the light, block letter writing and brown background in a color the company calls "Hershey maroon" is problematic. The company said in a statement Tuesday that it believes "this is an unauthorized use of our distinctive and famous design" and that it may "mislead consumers into believing that Steve Hershey is somehow affiliated with or endorsed by The Hershey Company."
But Hershey, the politician, said in a statement Tuesday that his campaign's actions were "lawful and the exercise of my constitutional rights."
Hershey has been told his family tree intersects with that of Milton S. Hershey, the candy company's founder, but they are not close relatives.