German confectionary maker Haribo has lost a long-running battle against Swiss chocolate giant Lindt after the Germany’s supreme court ruled that Lindt chocolate teddy bears were not a copy of the Haribo’s gummy bears.
"Lindt’s sale of bear-shaped chocolates wrapped in a golden foil with a red ribbon is neither a violation of Haribo's ‘Gold Bear’ trademark nor an illegal imitation of the fruit gum products," the court ruled on Wednesday.
Haribo produces a ‘Goldbär’ (‘Gold Bear’) gummy bears and the package features a cartoon bear wearing a red ribbon around its neck, while the Lindt & Sprüngli product features a bear caricature printed on gold foil, with a real red ribbon wrapped around its neck.
Bonn-based Haribo has been producing the ubiquitous gummy bear since the 1960s. The ‘Lindt Teddy’ came out in 2011.
The two sides had been locked in a three-year court battle after Haribo argued the two products were too similar and that people would confuse the two.
Cologne's regional court had originally ruled in favour of Haribo in 2012, but Lindt successfully appealed in Cologne last year. The case then moved to the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest legal instance. The judgement is now final.