Mars can no longer sell its incredibly popular M&M treats in Sweden, for as long as it mentions the letter "M" on the chocolate candy's exterior. With its ruling, the court agrees with competitor Mondelez' complaint.
The letter "M" as a registered trademark
Mars loses out in a remarkable court case, filed several years ago by Kraft Foods (now Mondelez). The latter sells Marabou peanuts, covered in chocolate, in Sweden. Its packaging has a large "m", registered as a trademark in Sweden. Mars Inc., which sells the famous M&M, is therefore plagiarizing if it uses that same "m" on its candy. The judge agreed with Mondelez and has now issued a nationwide sales ban, with a 250,000 dollar penalty for any breach.
The legal battle began 7 years ago, when Kraft Foods Sverige filed a complaint against competitor Mars. Marabou introduced its M-packaged candy in 1957 and got a trademark in 1993. Mars on the other hand, only launched the M&M in Sweden 7 years ago, in 2009. The Marabou manufacturer says Mars tried to buy the trademark (to no avail) for two years, prior to its own launch in 2009.
Mars could obviously switch to the capital letter M, which it already uses in all corporate communication, staying clear of any brand trademark, but the company has no intention to do so. "We have always found there is no actual confusion. We will consider our next step in Sweden", a statement said.