Gummy bear firm wins sweet victory in legal row

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Germany’s iconic gummy bear has won a sweet legal victory over a foil-wrapped Swiss chocolate teddy.

Cologne’s regional court yesterday ruled in favour of Germany’s Haribo, saying that Switzerland’s Lindt & Spruengli had violated its trademark on the “Goldbaer” or “Gold Bear” gummy bear name. It banned the further sale of Lindt’s gold foil-wrapped chocolate bear.

The court said though the Lindt product was officially called the “Lindt Teddy”, consumers would refer to it as “Gold Bear” because of its packaging.

The Haribo gummy bear package features a cartoon bear wearing a red ribbon around its neck, while the Lindt product features a bear caricature printed on gold foil, with a real red ribbon wrapped around its neck.

Bonn-based Haribo, which invented the ubiquitous gummy bear almost a century ago, had argued the two products often end up side-by-side on shelves and that consumers would be confused – even though one is chewy with a fruit flavour and the other is chocolate.

Lindt had argued there were enough differences to avoid confusion, and the packaging is in line with its gold Easter bunny. It also said Haribo gummy bears are so well known by German consumers they were not likely to confuse them with anything else.