Goldbear wars going into the next round...

With Easter slowly approaching, you'd be forgiven if you expected to read about a yet another chapter in the perennial Easter Bunny dispute(s).  However, this Kat can offer you an update on the Haribo vs Lindt Gold Bear trade mark dispute: according to information published on the German Federal Court of Justice's website, this equally gold-themed matter has now reached Germany's highest court in civil matters and a hearing in this dipsute has been scheduled at the BGH for 25 June 2015, (BGH case reference I ZR 105/14).
Lindt's teddy
The original gold bears
The case: upholding a claim brought by confectionery manufacturer Haribo, the first instance court, the Regional Court of Cologne (case reference: 33O 803/11) in December 2012 decided that Lindt's three-dimensional gold-foiled chocolate bears amounted to an infringing ‘visual representation’of Haribo's well-known GOLDBÄREN (in English Gold Bear) gummy bear word marks: Lindt's chocolate bears inevitably evoked connotations with Haribo's bears, which could dilute of Haribo's marks.   
On appeal by Lindt, the Higher Regional Court of Cologne (see here; case reference: 6 U 230/12 of 11 April 2014)  – in essence – agreed with the defendants: the judges explained that there were several additional levels of abstraction separating the Lindt's Chocolate teddy shape from the Goldbär word mark.  Therefore, the judges held that Lindt had not taken unfair advantage of Haribo's Goldbär by "approximating" its Lindt teddy to Haribo's gold bears.  The Lindt teddy was an obvious addition to Lindt's product line, which included the famous Lindt Easter bunnies.

It is now for the BGH to decide whether Lindt's teddies are conceptually or otherwise too similar to Haribo's earlier rights.  May this even be another reference to the CJEU? Will all evidence make it safely to the BGH?  Our readers will recall that the BGH had reversed and remanded ajudgment by OLG Frankfurt in one of the Easter Bunny disputes, mainly because the Riegelein chocolate bunny submitted in evidence was missing from the files (please see here and here for reports on this odd event)  ... Only time will tell!

Goldbear wars going into the next round... Goldbear wars going into the next round... Reviewed by Birgit Clark on Wednesday, March 04, 2015 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Considering Lindt have been arguing for years that any gold-covered bunnies will be confused with their ones, it seems a bit much for them to start producing gold-coloured bears when someone else has a trade mark for gold-coloured bears. Sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander, to use an appropriately edible-animal-related phrase.


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