Gummy bear maker loses ‘Gold Bear’ battle

© Rolf Vennenbernd

German confectioner Haribo has lost its long-running copyright battle with Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli over the classic ‘Gold Bear’ identity.

"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," said the German court decision.

In 2012 Haribo brought a claim against Lindt, arguing that its chocolate teddies were a "three-dimensional representation" of its gold bear and that consumers could be mistaken because of the similarity of the two bears.

© Ina Fassbender

However, the court in Cologne ruled that Lindt had a clearly visible logo on the foil and that the chocolate teddy looked more like the chocolatier's 'gold bunnies' than the Haribo sweet.

Lindt started selling its bear-shaped chocolates wrapped in golden foil under the brand name "Teddy" at Christmas 2011. Haribo has been making its multi-colored gummy bears since the 1960s, and has used the trademark ‘Gold Bear’ since 1975.

The gelatin Haribo bear’s packaging features a cartoon bear with a red ribbon around its neck while Lindt's gold-foil chocolate bear has a real ribbon around its neck.

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The German confectioner can appeal against the ruling to the Federal Court of Justice.