Lindt Beats Haribo In Legal Battle Over Candy Bears

hariboIt might seem pretty obvious that chocolate candy shaped like a bear is quite different from a gummy candy bear, but now it’s official: a judge in German ruled that Lindt’s foil-wrapped, bear-shaped chocolate treats aren’t copying rival candy purveyor Haribo’s gummy bear mascot.

Haribo had claimed that Lindt’s gold-wrapped chocolate teddy bears, which feature a red ribbon around their necks, were a ripoff of its “Gold Bear” trademark. He’s the yellow bear adorning packages of Haribo gummy bears, and he also happens to wear a red ribbon around his neck.

That coincidence isn’t enough, a judge in a German federal court ruled today, reports the AFP.

“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.

The two sides went to court in 2012 when Lindt started selling its “Lindt Teddy” figurines in 2011 for the Christmas season. Lindt said it wasn’t copying Haribo, and that the idea was inspired by its “Gold Bunny” chocolates, which were hot sellers during the Easter season.

A German court first ruled in favor of Haribo, but after an appeal court threw out that verdict — finding that chocolate teddies couldn’t be mistaken for gummy bears — the case went to the Federal Court of Justice.

Lindt welcomed the ruling, saying it “will continue to delight all Lindt chocolate lovers with the Lindt Teddy,” and that both parties “have agreed to refrain from making any substantive comments on the matter itself.”

Sweet justice: Lindt beats Haribo in gummy bear court battle [AFP]