Few candy brands – or for that matter, any brands – are as iconic as M&M’s. And yet the letter “M” isn’t particularly distinctive at all. Maybe the second “M” is what really hammers it home. Still, when you see a little chocolate with an “m” printed on its candy shell, you know exactly where it came from. And in Sweden, that’s a problem.
A Swedish court has barred Mars, the maker of M&M’s, from selling the world-famous candies in the Scandinavian country if the company uses lowercase “m’s.” The ruling stems from a trademark dispute with Mondelez, owner of the Swedish chocolate brand Marabou, who has been marketing their chocolate with a lowercase “m” since the 1960s. Since M&M’s weren’t introduced in Sweden until the 2009, Mondelez claims the trademark is exclusively theirs in that country.
The Svea Court of Appeal said that Mars could continue selling M&M’s using uppercase lettering without infringing on the existing trademark, a decision that Mars doesn’t seem particularly happy with. “We have always believed no confusion exists between the colourful m&m's brand - one of the world's favourite chocolate products - and the Marabou M Peanut Brand,” the candy company said in a statement that almost certainly included a Mean Girls-esque scoff at the end of the sentence.
At this point, Mars seems to think the fight for the right to use the letter “M” in all its forms is far from over. “Given the court's decision we will assess the next steps for our beloved brand in Sweden,” Mars said. Maybe they could try switching the name to “n&n’s”? Is that taken?