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Coca-Cola takes aim at Haribo

June 2017. Coca-Cola has filed an opposition in the US against an application by German confectioner Haribo to register a trademark for a cola bottle containing the word ‘Haribo’, which the drinks giant says closely resembles its own iconic Coca-Cola bottle.

Perceived link

Coca-Cola argues that the shape of its own bottle, which has been in use for almost a century, is a global icon and that there is consequently a risk of consumers perceiving a connection between the two companies. The company cites a range of older shape mark trademark registrations of the familiar bottle to uphold its case.

Established use of bottle shape

As far as we know, Haribo has been marketing confectionery resembling the well-known Coca-Cola bottle for some time. We’re not aware if Coca-Cola is also objecting to that use or whether it’s only concerned about Haribo’s bid to register a trademark. On 26 May, both parties filed a motion to suspend the proceedings for 180 days, which suggests they’re discussing an out-of-court settlement.