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Hershey Says Designer Is Milking Its Candy's Name

October 29, 2005|David Colker | Times Staff Writer

The name of a small Temecula clothing company that produces outfits for nursing mothers is Milkdudz.

Get it?

Candy giant Hershey Co. -- maker of Milk Duds chocolate-covered caramels -- did and was not happy about it.

Last week, Milkdudz co-founder Kiersten Wall, who runs the business out of her home garage, received a notice from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that Hershey was protesting her use of the Milkdudz name.

It didn't come as a surprise to Wall, 29. In August, she got a letter from Hershey demanding that she give up the name for her line of clothing.

"It was a very nice letter," Wall said Friday. "It came with a 5-pound bar of chocolate."

The sweetener didn't work. Wall said she would fight to keep the name of the company she helped start last year.

Hershey declined to comment Friday.

In its filing, Hershey said Wall's company wanted "to capitalize upon the fame of Milk Duds and to utilize the goodwill already existing in said mark."

Wall said she didn't imagine that Hershey would object to the name.

"Our products," she said, "would never be in the same place at the same time."

Milkdudz would oppose Hershey's action, she said, but could not afford a long court fight against a company that had $4.4 billion in sales last year.

In the meantime, Wall can't even take solace in her favorite chocolate candy.

"I'm a real fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups," she said. "But they are made by Hershey. I won't have them in the house."

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