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How Hershey Trademarked the Word "Kisses"

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Pop quiz! Which of the following popular candies—M&M’s, Kisses, Milk Duds, Chocolate covered peanuts, or Malted milk balls—is a trademarked name?

If you said Kisses, you’re right—but only just. Which leads to one of the strangest trademark cases of the past century.

ALL KINDS OF KISSES

Back in the 19th century, you could satisfy your sweet tooth with Spanish kisses, cream kisses, fruit kisses, and, of course, chocolate kisses. But these weren't the latest offerings from Hershey, who wouldn't be selling their kisses until 1907. These were kisses in the original sense, described in the 1856 Webster’s Dictionary as "A small piece of confectionery."

In 1996, Hershey filed for a trademark on the word Kiss. It was refused by the Trademark Office’s Examining Attorney, who pointed out that:

“[T]he first chocolate products manufactured by Hershey were the HERSHEY BAR for a chocolate bar, HERSHEY’S COCOA for cocoa and HERSHEY’S BAKING CHOCOLATE for baking chocolate. Then HERSHEY’S KISSES were introduced in 1907 followed one year later by HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE BAR WITH ALMONDS for a chocolate bar with almonds.” (emphasis in original)

Every time that Hershey released a product, it was always the Hershey name followed by a generic descriptor of what was being sold. This, along with historical recipes, dictionary definitions, and use in fiction, led the Examining Attorney to the conclusion that when the first Hershey’s kiss was released, consumers knew that the word meant any small, bite-sized treat. Because it was the generic word for that type of candy, it was deemed untrademarkable.

What Hershey needed to prove was that, to the average consumer of today, kiss meant one thing and one thing only—their product. And the company had a major ace up its sleeve to do it: the question at the beginning of this article.

SURVEYING THE CROWD

Hershey commissioned a survey of potential candy buyers, who were told the difference between a brand name and a generic name and then asked whether M&M’s, Milk Duds (both brands), chocolate covered peanuts, malted milk balls (both generic), and kisses were generic or brands. The results were:

M&Ms: 94.3 percent identified as a brand, 4.4 percent identified as generic
Milk Duds: 84.2 percent brand, 8.5 percent generic
Kisses: 78.8 percent brand, 16.5 percent generic.
Malted milk balls: 33.9 percent brand, 55.7 percent generic
Chocolate covered peanuts: 19.9 percent brand, 73.7 percent generic

In 2000, the Appeals Court sided with Hershey, entirely because of the survey. The court said it proved that, although a consumer in 1907 would understand kiss to be generic, to the average modern consumer “kiss” represented not just a candy, but a particular candy from one manufacturer. So in 2001, 94 years after Milton Hershey sold his first kiss, Hershey managed to do the opposite of escalator and trampoline—they trademarked a generic word.

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travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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