Spanish start-up draws Haribo’s anger over alcohol gummy bears

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A Spanish start-up company offers alcohol-containing gummy bears on the Internet, which are said to resemble the world-famous “Haribo” gold bear. The famous confectionery company sees its reputation at risk and has already initiated legal proceedings against the operators of the Spanish online business.

According to the AFP news agency, Ander Méndez founded the start-up near Bilbao in 2019. In addition to the Internet, he also sold his alcoholic goods in Spanish bars and discos. The sweet tooth with one Alcohol content of 15 percent would be offered in small metal cans. They come in five colors and flavors: rum pineapple, gin strawberry, vodka orange, whiskey cola and tequila lemon. A glass of wine corresponds to about eight “bears with alcohol”.

Now there should be trouble with Haribo: The company from Bonn sees a similarity between the gummy bears of the start-up and the Haribo gummy bears.
The “alcohol gummy bears are similar to Haribo gold bears – the most successful and best-known product from Haribo,” said a company spokesman. There is “the risk of a misleading connection between our brand and the alcoholic gummy bears, which may only be sold to adults over the age of 18”.
To protect his registered trademark, Haribo has therefore initiated “a legal process customary in these cases” against the Spanish company Ositos & Co.

The spokesman also said the spokesman said the company “placed great emphasis on not being associated in any way with alcoholic fruit gummy bears from ‘Ositos & Co'”. “For us, children and drinking alcohol are fundamentally mutually exclusive.”

Haribo is serious

Ander Méndez, the founder of the start-up, says he “fell from all clouds” when he received a six-page English-language letter from the Haribo lawyers. The letter speaks of “a great similarity” between the two sweets and that the Ositos con alcohol (bears with alcohol) are a violation of the intellectual property right.

The confectionery group offers the Spanish start-up an “amicable settlement”, but ties this to drastic demands. The company is asked to stop the production and sale of “each product with the controversial symbol”, to abandon the trademark registered in Spain and to cede “the operation and ownership of the internet domain ositosconalcohol.com” to Haribo.

Méndez responded to the demands as follows: “We do not damage their brand and they (the bears) do not look alike.” The gummy bears from Spain are larger than those from Haribo. Méndez and his business partners are currently considering how to respond to the Haribo letter – even if they “don’t have enough resources to go to court”.

The Spaniard admitted that they were afraid of the large family company Haribo, which they could “sink if they wanted to”. At the same time, he assured that he wanted to continue producing and selling “bears with alcohol” because “people like them”.

mka / gs



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