Haribo, the confectionary manufacturer, has won a trade mark battle in Germany against Swiss chocolatier Lindt, over the chocolate manufacturers' use of its "Gold Bear" trade mark.
Just before Christmas, the Cologne Regional Court prevented sales of Lindt's chocolate bear after Haribo argued that shoppers could confuse it with Haribo's Gold Bear gummy sweets. The Haribo packaging depicts a bear with a red ribbon around its neck, and Haribo argued that the similarity between this and Lindt's chocolate bear meant consumers could easily confuse the two products. Although the Lindt bear is marketed as the "Lindt Teddy", Haribo argued that shoppers commonly referred to it as a "Gold Bear" and this constituted an infringement of its trade mark. The Regional Court accepted Haribo's argument and sales of the Lindt bear were immediately stopped.
Meanwhile, Nestlé has won an appeal against Cadbury's successful claim to invalidate the trade mark registered by Nestlé in respect of the shape of its 4 finger KitKat chocolate bar. Cadbury had previously persuaded the Cancellation Division of Community Trade Marks to invalidate the trade mark, which would have allowed it to make chocolate bars in the same shape as Nestlé's KitKat, even though Nestlé's trade mark was registered in 2006. However, this decision was overturned by the Appeal Board of the Community Trade Mark Office, on the basis that Nestlé had shown that the four-fingered shape is now likely to be exclusively associated with the KitKat across the whole of the EU. Ultimately, the Appeal Board were convinced that the shape of the KitKat bar can distinguish Nestlé's goods and services from those of others, and therefore upheld Nestlé's appeal.