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Haribo mauls Lindt in gummy bear battle

Published: 18 Dec 2012 19:17 GMT+01:00

The regional court in the western German city of Cologne upheld the complaint of venerable gummy bear manufacturer Haribo against the distribution of Switzerland's Lindt and Spruengli foil-wrapped "Teddy" bears.

The judges ruled that the "Lindt Teddy" amounted to a "visual representation of the 'Gold Bear'," the brand under which Haribo sells its trademark gummy bears.

Lindt had said that its gold foil and red ribbon to wrap the chocolate bears were in line with the chocolate bunnies the company sells at Easter and that it consciously avoided using the brand name "Gold Bear" or "Gold Teddy".

It also argued that gold was a traditional Christmas season colour and thus appropriate for a holiday treat. Furthermore, the Swiss company told the court, the two products looked nothing alike and would thus not confuse consumers.

But the judges said that shoppers were likely to refer to the Lindt product as a "Gold Bear" because of its appearance and thus dilute the Haribo brand.

"Most consumers would not use descriptions such as 'golden bear figure', 'gold foil-wrapped bear' or 'gold-coloured chocolate teddy bear'... but rather the closest description, particularly considering how well-known the other brand is: Gold Bear," it said in a statement.

Lindt said it would appeal the ruling.

The Cologne court noted that the case was unique under German competition law.

"What is special about the case is that there has been no high court ruling on the issue of a collision between a brand name and a three-dimensional product design," it said.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

21:05 December 18, 2012 by Tonne
Why is Steiff not suing Haribo for copying its representation of the teddy bear?

Come on now people, foil covered chocolate bear versus cellophane wrapped jelly bear. It's not difficult.
23:41 December 18, 2012 by BlueWolf
Not sure, but that gummy bear looks distinctly evil.

Perhaps it is pissed off that bestiality is now banned - or happy and wants its revenge.
00:18 December 19, 2012 by wood artist
This is just another indication that trademark and patent laws have been completely perverted. Apple has a patent in the US for the "rounded corners" on their pads and phones. That's just plain stupid, and the application should have been denied immediately.

Imagine where the world would be if Ford (or any of the early automobile builders) had received a patent for the idea that an automobile has four tires, or perhaps the concept that we steer with the front wheels and power the back wheels. How stupid does these things need to get? Whatever the answer, obviously we haven't reached that point yet. However, I have faith we'll keep right on trying.

wa
00:55 December 19, 2012 by simski
Copyright law claims another victim.
04:22 December 19, 2012 by CoolBlueIce
The Euro-crisis, mass shootings, a growing jobless population... and yet this Chocolate VS. Gummy debate rages. What does this say about our priorities?

One thing for sure, it all comes down to money and fewer consumer choices.
09:03 December 19, 2012 by nonicknameleft
Our priorities? It's just money and protecting your business. Like WA stated there are many silly things copyrighted for the sole purpose of brand identity and sueing someone's arse off. Ritter Sport has copyrighted even square chocolates - no one else can manufacture chocolates that shape. It has got nothing to do with our priorities, it's just all about $ and regardless of how many ppl are killed in a shooting or how many are living on their last euro tomorrow, the Haribo bear will still be there to sue yo ass.

Lindt should employ some creativity - there are many shapes to a bear, why knock on Haribo's trademark?
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