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Haribo and Lindt in Gold Bear trademark dispute

By Oliver Nieburg+, 09-Nov-2012

Related topics: Manufacturers

German candy firm Haribo and Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli are locked in a legal battle in a German court over a trademark for products in the form of a golden bear.

Haribo alleges that Lindt has infringed its patent on ‘Gold Bear’ by introducing a chocolate product called ‘Teddy’ in November last year that uses gold packaging.

Haribo complained to Lindt and the two parties agreed to settle the matter in court.

The first court proceedings began in Landgericht Köln, Germany, on 30 October and the last instance is due on 18 December this year.

No Teddy bear’s picnic

Sylvia Kälin, corporate communications for Lindt told ConfectioneryNews.com: “Naturally Lindt made some check and controls before putting this new product on the market”

She said that Lindt purposely did not call the product ‘Gold Teddy’ and made no reference to gold in any marketing efforts.

Kälin said that the main question was:  “Is protection of a brand name strong enough to go further and even effect the form?”

Lindt’s Teddy is a chocolate product, while Haribo uses the Gold Bear name for candy products such as gummy bears and does not use it in cocoa products, she said.

“We are in a different segment. “We don’t think there could be any misunderstanding in the market,” said Kälin.

Haribo disagrees. We asked Haribo for comment on the case, but a response was not forthcoming before publication.

Haribo's Gold-Bears (left); Lindt's Teddy (right)

 

Gold bunny disputes

Lindt has previously been involved in legal battles over its Gold Bunny.

The two most prolific cases were in Austria against Hauswirth and in Germany against Riegelein.

The cases differ from the latest legal wrangling with Haribo as they concerned products in the same category: chocolate.

Lindt stopped Hauswirth manufacturing Easter bunnies in Austria that resembled the Lindt Bunny, but did not succeed in its case against Riegelein.

Lindt consequently failed to secure an EU trademark for the Lindt Bunny after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in May this year that the bunny with red necktie was devoid of distinctive character.