Haribo won trademark suit against Lindt’s gold-covered chocolate bear

A trademark suit between two European confectionary bears was recently decided by a court in Cologne, Germany. The victorious party was the German company Haribo, which had sued the Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli for trademark infringement.

In 2011 Lindt & Sprüngli launched a chocolate bear called “Lindt Teddy” wrapped in gold foil and wearing a red ribbon around its neck. Haribo, which markets the gummy bears called “Goldbären” (German for “gold bears”), claims that Lindt & Sprüngli is thereby guilty of infringing Haribo’s trademark. The claim refers to Haribo’s trade name “Goldbären” and a figurative mark depicting a yellow bear with a red ribbon around its neck.

However, Lindt & Sprüngli says that the products are so different that they cannot be mistaken for each other. It has also avoided calling its product “Goldbär” or “Goldteddy” and claims that the gold foil and the red ribbon are the same as those used on the company’s chocolate Easter bunny.

Ultimately the court stated that there is a major risk that German consumers will associate the appearance of Lindt’s chocolate bear with the word “Goldbären” and thereby associate the product with Haribo.

Lindt & Sprüngli has announced that it will appeal the judgment….