Battle Is Joined Over “Milk Duds” Name

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The Hershey Co., which makes the well-known and much-beloved “Milk Duds” candy, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against a California company that Hershey alleges makes a product with a confusingly similar name.

The product, “Milkdudz,” is a line of clothing designed to make breast-feeding easier.

Hershey’s complaint alleges that the Milkdudz company, founded by two women in Temecula, California, in 2004, is “trying to capitalize on the name recognition of Milk Duds to avoid having to build up its own brand.” But the company’s founders said they intended to fight, and noted that the two products were not exactly competing in the same market, so that confusion seemed unlikely. “It’s not like we’d be right next to them in the candy aisle,” said Milkdudz officer Kiersten Wall. “We’re in boutiques.”

Wall expressed confidence that Milkdudz could win the trademark dispute on its merits, but also was concerned that the company might not be able to afford extensive legal proceedings if Hershey decided to pursue an appeal.