Hotel Chocolat has claimed victory in its dispute with Waitrose over “copycat” chocolate bars.
Waitrose has backed down and agreed to stop manufacturing its chocolate bars, according to Hotel Chocolat.
“We’ve been in discussions with Waitrose for a few days and managed to get to a position we’re happy with. We asked them to do the right thing, and to their credit we’ve got what we want,” said Hotel Chocolat co-founder Angus Thirlwell,” told The Guardian. “They’ve agreed to stop making the totally coincidentally very similar bars. It’s a victorious solution to the whole thing.”
The accusation arose when Waitrose released chocolate slabs earlier this month which looked similar to the signature curvy-shaped slabs by Hotel Chocolat. Thirlwell was particularly concerned because some Twitter users had concluded Hotel Chocolat was supplying the new own-label range to Waitrose.
The upmarket chocolatier said its legal team has been considering the pursuit of legal action on the grounds of plagiarism given its curvy slab design was registered with the EU Intellectual Property Office, and because consumers could be confused because of the bars looking comparable.
Hotel Chocolat declared a chocolate “amnesty,” offering anyone who had bought a £2 Waitrose bar the opportunity to exchange it for one of the chocolatier’s own, which usually sell for £3.95. Thirlwell said the amnesty would be extended until Waitrose had finished selling off its stock of the bars rather than asking that they be destroyed, in a bid to avoid food waste.
A Waitrose spokesman said: “While we are confident that we’ve not infringed any of Hotel Chocolat’s designs, it is not in our interest to enter into a protracted legal dispute with Hotel Chocolat, and so we have decided not to restock this product once the existing chocolate bars have sold.”