Haribo v Lindt
Haribo sued Lindt on the alleged infringement of its word trade mark ‘GOLDEN BEAR’.
Haribo was successful in the first instance, however the judgment was overturned on appeal by the Oberlandesgericht.
The BGH held that the similarity between a word mark and a three dimensional shape can only result from a similarity in meaning. Only the word mark and the allegedly infringing shape was to be compared, not the two products ie the Lindt gold bear v Haribo gold bear.
A similarity in meaning requires that the word mark is obvious and natural designation of the shape. A strict standard is applied, as otherwise the word mark would monopolise a whole class of goods.
In this case it was held that there was no similarity of meaning. The Lindt chocolate bear was not most obviously and naturally referred to as a gold bear.
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