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Why Swedes could be starved of M&M's

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Why Swedes could be starved of M&M's
Look away now, chocolate lovers. Photo: Kin Cheung/AP/TT
11:47 CEST+02:00
Swedes could soon be starved of M&M's chocolates after a court ruled against the sweet's producers in a trademark infringement case.

The chocolate war was waged between Mars, who produces M&M's, and Mondelez International, who sells their own round praline sweets in Sweden under the brand name M.

The row between the two entities has a long history. Mondelez, which owns famous Swedish chocolate brand Marabou, launched the M sweets in Sweden in the 1950s in partnership with Mars, who had already sold M&M's in other countries.

An agreement reached between the two companies in 1989 said that Mars would not sell M&M's in Sweden, Norway and Finland. The agreement expired in 1998 and was not extended, and in 2009 Mars introduced M&M's in Sweden.

In a court case that originally started in 2011, Mondelez International argued that Mars was guilty of trademark infringement in their sale of M&M's in the country. The case ended up in the Svea Court of Appeals, which reached its verdict in Mondelez International's favour on Thursday.

“The court of appeal forbids Mars Incorporated and Mars Sweden AB from importing, marketing or selling sweets or chocolate products under the labels M and M&Ms in Sweden,” the ruling concluded.

It also said that Mars would be fined two million kronor ($240,541) if it continued to import, market or sell the multicoloured sweets under the M&M's label in Sweden.

Auditors had to carry out special studies of the different sweets in question in order to reach the verdict. A spokesperson for Mondelez International told The Local she was pleased with the outcome of the trial.

“Mondelez is obviously satisfied with the court's decision, as our trademarks are extremely valuable to us. This case is an important one as it highlights the importance of protecting and regulating trademarks,” Celin Huseby, Head of Corporate and Government Affairs at Mondelez Nordics, said.

In a statement provided to The Local, Mars said they will now have to assess the next steps for the M&M's brand in Sweden.

“M&M's brand candies have been a popular treat around the world since 1941 and we have always believed no confusion exists between the colourful M&M's brand (...) and the Marabou M brand,” corporate affairs director of Mars Nordics Ylva Freiesleben wrote. 

“Given the court's decision we will assess the next steps for our beloved brand in Sweden. We will of course comply with all local laws in this matter," she added.

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