There is a hilarious moment in the Coen Brothers film Raising Arizona, in which an old-timer gas station attendant considers the humor of balloon shapes. They are not particularly humorous, he points out, unless round is funny. Rectangular isn't really funny either, especially if you're Williams-Sonoma. The cooking store and catalog empire is being sued by Hershey over their brownie pans, which Hershey says mimics the design of their candy bar. In other words, it's rectangular and has imprinted text on the bottom. Of course the brownie pan says “chocolate,” and not “Hershey's,” and is made from cast aluminum and not actual chocolate, but whatever.

According to Hershey, their chocolate bar was trademarked in 1968 and thus the similar design is off limits. They're asking for an injunction to stop the sale of the brownie pan. William-Sonoma has not commented. Nor have any of the other companies who make things in rectangular shapes. The Federal Government, for one, might want to re-examine the shape of their gold bars. How about that nice flat-bottomed teardrop shape. Oh, sorry, Hershey trademarked that one too. Maybe we're back to round.

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