Ferrero loses monopoly over Kinder sweets
The confectionery giant Ferrero has been left with a bitter taste after being banned from keeping its monopoly over the word kinder, the German word for children, on its popular Kinder Surprise eggs.
The ruling by a German court ended a lengthy battle between sweet manufacturers that had raged for years and marked one of the most significant business copyright rows of recent times.
A spokesman for Haribo, a manufacturer of jelly bears which had fought for the right to call their sweets Kinder Kram, or kids' stuff, said the company was enjoying the sweet taste of victory.
"Of course we're happy, but the decision was to be expected. You can't protect generic words like kinder, auto or haus," he said.
The company Zott, which had been prevented from naming a milk pudding Kinderzeit, or Kids' Time, won the case against Ferrero.
The court ruled that Ferrero was allowed to protect only the design of its products, including the Kinder Surprise egg, Kinder chocolate bars, Kinder Happy Hippos, Kinder Maxi, Kinder Délice and Kinder Bueno, but not the "kinder" name tag.
Ferrero said it would fight the decision and take its case to Germany's highest court if necessary, claiming it had "invested much" in the Kinder trademark, which it said was reflected in the ubiquity of the Kinder Surprise.
"We will continue to defend the name Kinder against imitations," a spokeswoman said. "We will decide whether to take further steps, including going to the constitutional court."
Source: Guardian Unlimited