Wrigley Sues Hershey to Stop Ice Breakers Sales

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Wrigley Sues Hershey to Stop Ice Breakers Sales

05/30/2006
Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., the world's largest chewing-gum maker, sued to stop Hershey Co. from selling Ice Breakers spearmint chewing gums, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

The gums infringe a patent for "chewing gum containing physiological cooling agents,'" Wrigley said in a lawsuit filed March 16 in federal court in Chicago. Wrigley wants Hershey, the biggest U.S. chocolate maker, to pay royalties on past sales.

Hershey is trying to expand its third-place share of the chewing-gum market by building the Ice Breakers brand. Wrigley controls about 73 percent of the sugared-gum market and 54 percent of sugarless-gum sales, according to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc.

Hershey plans to use the Ice Breakers name to sponsor a concert tour by Hillary and Haylie Duff and back NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. An advertising campaign featuring the Duff sisters will promote Ice Breakers Spearmint Ice Cube gum as ``the frosted cube that is surprisingly cold,'' according to Hershey's Web site.

Neither company issued press statements about the lawsuit.