(Photo: Reuters/Alexandra Winkler)
The Gummy Bear legal battle in Europe has been won by Germany's Haribo GmbH, after a Cologne court ruled that Switzerland's Lindt & Spruengli AG had violated its trademark on its "Goldbaer" or "Gold Bear" gummy bear name.
The court ruled on Tuesday that any further sales of Lindt's gold-foil wrapped chocolate bear would be banned.
The ruling came despite the court acknowledging that the Lindt product was officially called the "Lindt Teddy." The court still believed that consumers would naturally refer to it as "Gold Bear" due to its packaging, thereby creating brand confusion.
The famous Haribo gummy bear packaging contains a cartoon bear that wears a red ribbon around its next. Meanwhile, the Lindt product is similar, featuring a bear caricature placed on a gold foil – it too has a real red ribbon tied around its neck.
According to attorneys for Haribo, the to products are often placed side by side on store shelves, therefore, increasing the chance of brand confusion among potential consumers. The court agreed with the Haribo lawyers despite one being a fruit-based candy, and the other being made of chocolate.
The court rejected Lindt's arguments that there were enough distinguishing features to avoid any kind of brand confusion among consumers. The Lindt attorneys also argued that the almost-100 year old Haribo brand was so well known by German consumers that it was highly unlikely that anyone would confuse the two brands.