Protecting your brand in the social media era: what does a win look like?

A few months ago, Hotel Chocolat founder Angus Thirlwell took Waitrose to task on social media over the infringement of a Registered Design relating to the brand’s curvy chocolate slabs. Hotel Chocolat made all the right moves: they sought legal advice, sent a cease and desist letter, and entered into discussions with the retailer. Meanwhile, they maximised their publicity by appealing to Waitrose customers with a product amnesty, encouraging them to exchange their copycat slabs for the real thing, and – not insignificantly – took the high ground on social media.

It paid off, as two weeks later Waitrose agreed to discontinue the range, rather than enter into a lengthy and expensive legal battle whose outcome would have been far from clear.

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