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Tony’s Chocolonely faces lawsuit from Milka over packaging dispute

Tony`s Chocolonely Chocolate

Milka's parent, Mondelez, has sued Tony's Chocolonely for imitating its chocolate bar packaging. 

Tony's Chocolonely, known for its ethical stance, introduced four new wrappers in Germany and Austria.

The company said the new packaging is meant to to draw attention to child labor issues in the cocoa industry.

However, Mondelez says the wrappers mimic the designs of major chocolate brands like Milka, Nestle, Mars, and Ferrero.

Tony's Chocolonely has changed the contested packaging and intends to appeal against the injunction.

Mondelez declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit but said it owned a colour trademark in Europe, which Tony's confirmed was the basis of the injunction.

The company said: "As a matter of practice, to protect the values of our brands, which we have worked hard to build over hundreds of years, we express our concerns to third parties when they are using a protected brand element." 

Tony's Chocolonely wanted to shed light on the exploitation and child labor prevalent in cocoa farming, particularly in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire

Dutch-based Tony's Chocolonely said: "Most big chocolate companies don't pay a living income price for all their cocoa. Resulting in exploitation on cocoa farms, with 1.56 million children involved in child labour in Ghana + Côte d'Ivoire."

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The company faced legal backlash for using a "bright, not-so-joyful color" on one of its bars, a direct parody of Milka's iconic purple packaging. 

Tony's has replaced the purple with grey and preferred supporting farmers over engaging in legal battles.

Mondelez has clarified that the legal dispute is strictly related to trademark infringement. 

In 2021, Tony's Chocolonely faced criticism for leaving one of the windows in its advent calendar empty as a statement on industry inequality.

It led to backlash from parents whose children were disappointed by the absence of chocolate. 

Tony's explained that the gesture was intended to provoke discussion about the chocolate industry's deep-rooted inequities.

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