Germany’s highest court has ruled that Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli did not violate German confectioner Haribo’s trademark “Gold Bear” when it began selling a chocolate bear wrapped in gold foil in 2011. Haribo has produced Gold-Bear® gummy bears for several decades, which are sold in gold packages featuring a yellow bear wearing a red ribbon and bow tied around its neck. Lindt’s gold-clad chocolate bear also wears a red ribbon tied in a bow around its neck, styled after the company’s chocolate Easter bunny products.
Haribo claimed in 2012 that consumers were likely to be confused by Lindt’s packaging; a trial court agreed, but an intermediate appellate court overturned the ruling. The Federal Court of Justice has affirmed the appellate ruling, reportedly saying in a German-language statement that it wants to avoid the danger of “product design monopolisation.” Information about Haribo’s 2012 complaint appears in Issue 462 of this Update. See BBC, September 23, 2015.