NEW YORK (CN) – The Topps Co. Inc. survived summary judgment in the 2nd Circuit in its dispute with longtime business partner Cadbury Stani over the right to make Bazooka bubble gum.
The New York-based Topps makes and sells trading cards and chewing gum, including the chunky, rectangular Bazooka gum with old-fashioned “Bazooka Joe” comic strips inside the wrapper.
A three-judge panel reversed summary judgment for Cadbury on Topps’ claims of breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets, saying the evidence was not conclusive at this stage.
Topps claimed that the South American candy maker continued to sell Bazooka gum after its license had expired in 1996. The companies had been in business since 1957 under a series of licensing agreements of varying lengths.
The disputed 1980 license contains no provisions allowing or forbidding Cadbury to continue making Bazooka. It only states that Cadbury has the right to produce the gum “during the continuance” of the agreement.
The appeals court acknowledged that the license “could have been more clearly written,” but ruled that the evidence does not tip so overwhelmingly in Cadbury’s favor as to warrant summary judgment.