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Hershey Says Mars Dove Peanut Butter Bars Copy Reese’s

Hershey Co., the maker of Reese’s candies, said Mars Inc.’s Dove peanut butter and chocolate bars copy its packaging, while Mars sought a court ruling that it isn’t infringing Hershey’s trademarks.

Mars used an orange background for its Dove confection that was already trademarked for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces, Hershey said in a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court in Pennsylvania.

The use of the colors is an attempt to “trade on Hershey’s goodwill and to confuse consumers as to the origin, source or sponsorship of defendant’s product,” the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based company said in its complaint.

Mars filed its own complaint yesterday against Hershey in Virginia federal court, claiming “orange is commonly used by third parties on packaging as a generic flavor designation for peanuts, peanut butter or peanut butter flavoring.”

Elizabeth Sourk, a spokeswoman for McLean, Virginia-based Mars, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Hershey rose 8 cents to $46.70 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Mars is closely held.

The cases are Hershey Co. v. Mars Inc., 10-02417, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania; and Mars Inc. v. Hershey Co., 10-01325, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

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