Lindt’s chocolate teddy bear may look innocent, but it ignited a legal battle lasting years between sweet makers, Lindt & Sprüngli of Switzerland, and Haribo, a maker of gummy bears ubiquitous in Germany.
Haribo is a Bonn-based company that has made bear-shaped sweets of sugar, starch and gelatin since the 1920s.
In 2012, it took Lindt to court, arguing that the Swiss company’s chocolate bear, wrapped in gold foil, was too similar to the yellow bear sweet Haribo had trade-marked as its Gold Bear. Lindt argued that the chocolate bear is a riff on its foil-wrapped Easter bunny chocolate.
Germany’s Federal Court of Justice, or the BGH, ruled in favor of the Swiss company, stating that the company’s chocolate bears “neither violate the Gold Bear trademark of Haribo, or represent an unfair imitation of their fruit gummy products.”