Sparking concerns of IP infringement, American-made White Rabbit ice cream goes viral

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 12, 2019
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The White Rabbit candy [Photo/VCG]

An American ice cream parlour has said it has reached out to a Chinese company after the success of a wildly popular flavor raised accusations of intellectual property theft.

The White Rabbit candy-flavored ice cream at Wanderlust Creamery in Los Angeles has been a social media sensation, leading to long queues outside the shop beginning in February.

The parlour began selling the White Rabbit candy-flavored ice cream on Feb. 1 and intended to serve it until Feb. 28, but based on the overwhelming reaction from customers, it decided to continue serving the flavor until the end of March.

The popularity of the ice cream caught the attention of Shanghai-based Guan Sheng Yuan Group (GSY), the company that had made the iconic White Rabbit candy for the last 60 years. The candy is a household name in China.

In a statement sent to Xinhua on the weekend, GSY said the American parlour is not authorized to use the candy flavor in its product. Some media reports say the Chinese company has asked some IP protection organizations to investigate the issue.

The sudden success of the ice cream "reflects the consumers recognition and love for the White Rabbit brand, and on the other hand, we think it's an interesting innovation to make ice cream with White Rabbit candies as ingredients ... which for the time-honored brand White Rabbit is worth thinking and learning from," GSY said in the statement.

In its own statement last Thursday, Wanderlust said, "Our representatives have reached out to Guan Sheng Yuan to discuss forming a mutually beneficial relationship in an effort to further introduce the iconic White Rabbit Candy to the American consumer through our artisanal ice cream."

GSY started to make White Rabbit milk candies in 1959, which became a flagship product of the Shanghai-based company and a household name in China.

In its Facebook post, Wanderlust Creamery said the White Rabbit candy-flavored ice cream "encapsulates childhood reminiscence for many Asian Americans."

"This obviously mobilized a significant Asian American population in the US alongside non-Asians who had never heard of or had the White Rabbit candy," said Adrienne Borlongan, the chef and co-founder of the parlour, in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The parlour started serving the special flavor to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year and photos of its ice cream wrapped with White Rabbit candy paper went viral on social media, raising concerns of IP infringement.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, the American parlour continued to promote the special flavor.

"Childhood on a cone. Yes, we still have 'The White' through March. Made from Shanghainese White Rabbit candies, milk & cream ... while supplies last. Limit 1 scoop per customer at Smorgasburg La." The creamery posted with a photo of a white toy rabbit placed beside a melting ice cream cone on the floor.

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