It’s no surprise that multiple companies make chocolates with a toy inside.
But now, one of those companies is suing another claiming patent infringement.
The makers of Yowie, the Australian chocolate with a toy inside, have brought a lawsuit against Candy Treasure, the makers of the American Choco Treasure chocolate eggs with the toy inside.
|A Spiderman Choco Treasure Egg|
According to an article in Confectionery News, “The suit alleges that Candy Treasure owner Kevin Gass based his product on a patent published by Whetstone Chocolate factory owner Hank Whetstone in 2000.”
However, Candy Treasure denies the allegations.
“We examined Mr. Hank Whetstone's patent and deliberately chose not to license it, instead developing a different design that we believe makes a better product,” Candy Treasure said in a statement to Candy Industry. “In any case, Choco Treasure is clearly not in violation of this patent. We are proud of our product and its design and will defend our interests vigorously.”
The company also says that Hank Whetstone actually contacted Candy Treasure two years ago on the same issue.
“And we informed him of our non-infringement at the at time. It is surprising for us to learn of this lawsuit now on a closed matter.”
Gass’s Choco Treasure eggs are specifically designed to meet U.S. safety standards — which the Kinder Surprise eggs sold in Europe do not do.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Protection and Safety Division (CPSD) prohibit selling candy with inedible objects hidden inside of it, specifically to safeguard against choking hazards.
However, the Choco Treasure eggs have a plastic capsule that goes inside of a chocolate egg, which allows it to be filled with any sort of toy. The plastic capsule has a little ridge on the edge that makes it so two half chocolate eggs can go on either side of it, and kids can still see the bright neon plastic in between. Technically, that means the toy isn’t completely covered in chocolate.
However, Whetstone told Confectionery News, “ Candy Treasure is not the inventor of the ‘legal and safe’ method for the U.S. I am the inventor. Candy Treasure did not spend years developing this item on their own. They copied my product, “Megga Surprise’ and attempted to license my patents before introducing their infringing product.”