Billion-dollar products that are complete rip-offs


Every time you eat a Big Mac or play with Lego, you’re supporting theft.

In fact, many of the world’s best known and most financially successful products were actually copied from earlier competitors, who have mostly been consigned to the trashcan of history.

Whether due to cutthroat business practices, poor marketing or just plain bad timing, here are some of the original products that were left behind by their copycats.

With annual sales of more than $10 billion, The Hershey Company is one of the world’s Big Four chocolate makers alongside Mars, Nestle and Cadbury owner Mondelez.

But its signature product, the one that catapulted it to the top of the chocs, was actually a rip-off of a competitor. In 1894, a full 13 years before the Hershey’s Kiss was created, rival chocolate maker H.O. Wilbur and Sons pioneered the design with its Wilbur Buds.

Samira Kawash, author of “Candy: A Century Of Panic And Pleasure“, said Hershey wasn’t the only copycat, and in 1909 Henry Wilbur even tried taking some of his imitators to court.

“Unwrapped, the Wilbur Bud was quite distinctive — the bottom of the candy was molded into a flower shape and the letters W-I-L-B-U-R embossed in each petal,” Kawash wrote on her blog Candy Professor.

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