A court in Cologne has ruled that Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli AG is not violating Haribo's classic "gold bear" copyright. It is the latest setback for the German sweets maker in the battle of the bears.
The appeals court in Cologne on Friday ruled that Lindt's foil-wrapped chocolate teddy doesn't infringe on the "Gold Bear" name used for Haribo's jelly gummy bears.
"The court rejected Haribo's lawsuit," said a court spokeswoman. "It could not find any resemblance between the written trademarks 'gold bear' and the Lindt Teddy."
Bonn-based Haribo had argued in 2012 that Lind's chocolate teddies were a "three-dimensional representation" of its gold bear and that consumers would mistake it for one of their products.
"Before the introduction of the Lindt Teddy nearly every German associated gold bears with Haribo. Now one in every 10 associate the term with Lindt. A registered trademark has been watered down here," argued Haribo lawyer Ingo Jung.
The judges in Cologne, however, saw it differently. Their ruling on Friday said Lindt's chocolate bear, which was first introduced for the 2011 Christmas season, was clearly marked with the company's logo and stamped "Lindt Teddy." The court added that the Lindt chocolate bear was in fact much closer in appearance to the company's own "gold bunnies" sold during Easter.
The ruling can be appealed to the Federal Court of Justice.
dr/pfd (AFP, AP, dpa)