The double meaning may be clever, but The Hershey Co., maker of Milk Duds candy, is trying to stop a California company from using a sound-alike name for a line of clothing designed to make breast-feeding easier.
Hershey said in a complaint to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the name of the Milkdudz nursing wear is confusingly similar to the name of the round chocolate-covered caramels Hershey sells.
Milkdudz -- "not your mommaz nursing wear" -- sells garments for nursing mothers from "Goddess Gowns" to tank tops.
In a filing with the Patent Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Hershey said, "The clothier is trying to capitalize on the name recognition of Milk Duds to avoid having to build up its own brand." Hershey spokeswoman Stephanie Moritz declined to comment on the case, but the complaint asked the Patent Office to stop Milkdudz from registering its name.
Kiersten Wall, who co-founded Milkdudz with Stephanie Schulte in March 2004, said the Temecula, Calif., company would fight any name change, and that Hershey had a trademark only for candy, not clothing.
But while she was confident Milkdudz could win the trademark dispute, Wall said it might not prevail if Hershey pursued lengthy appeals. "It's Hershey's, and I don't have all the money in the world," Wall told The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.
"It's not like we'd be right next to them in the candy aisle. We're in boutiques," Wall told the newspaper. "We're not anywhere close to competing with Hershey's."