The Chocolate Life

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RITTER SPORT, a large German company manufacturing industrial and cheap chocolate for gas stations and supermarkets, is attacking fine chocolate makers like DOMORI, ROVIRA, MAGLIO, CONSTANT, ÅKESSON'S and many others because of the square shape of our bars... they claim that they are the only ones in the world that can make square chocolate bars...How laughable is this! Should there be any risk of confusion, we would be the ones that would have to fear any damage for our brands. I mean, besides the fact that there is absolutely nothing leading to confusion in the design of the packaging or anywhere else, we are not even competitors, we are not in the same league... RITTER is a large multinational company with lots of money to pay for the marketing of their mass market product (and for their lawyers) and we are artisans making high end chocolate for gourmets. But this again shows the reality of the chocolate market in general where 70% of the market is owned by 5 large multinational companies... So let's fight the dirty tricks of such greedy multinational like RITTER SPORT that are trying to kill the creativity and passion of small artisan chocolatiers!


Here is a short list of the brands having square chocolate bars in their portfolio: ÅKESSON'S, BALAGUER, BERGER, BOISSIER, CLEMENT, DOMORI, Laurent GERBAUD, HUSSEL, Luento Santoro, MAGLIO, MÄLAR Choklad, MARCOLINI, MarieBelle, MAZET, MEISTERWERK, MELT, François PRALUS, ROVIRA, TCHO, VIVANI, WILLIE'S Cacao...


ÅKESSON'S shall keep the shape of its chocolate bars as it is and we will of course keep our aficionados posted with the latest development of the case.

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Comment by Masur on September 8, 2011 at 5:24pm
Don't underestimate the power of companies like this when it comes to law suites. They are experts on paralyzing small companies whether they are right or wrong.
Comment by Bertil Åkesson on September 8, 2011 at 7:41am
That's right Clay, they do not go after the producers themselves. They are trying to intimidate the small retailers in Germany exclusively, sending them a threats from lawyers saying they have to take all square bars from the shelves, if not pay $US 6.000... should these retailers market again the bars they ask US$ 30.000! Stores that are not even marketing RITTER Sport... Of course we are suing them and some stores are courageous and fight back. There are 27 brands marketing square chocolate and many have done this for a very long time. The other chocolate makers and myself checked the patents with lawyers and RITTER Sport has no chance what so ever to win the case. It only mention "tri-dimensional brand" next to the picture of their packaging and they do not even mention anything about a square packaging. Their Design and positioning is SO far away from any of the other brands there is absolutely no possible confusion. So it is only an unfair attempt to intimidate smaller brands and try to appropriate this shape for themselves. Suing them costs at least US$ 20.000 but we won't let this happen.
Comment by Clay Gordon on September 7, 2011 at 11:37am

I am very surprised that Ritter believes that they can trademark a shape like a square and claim it as their own. Surely, there has to be "prior art." 

Also, in a follow-up from Bertil, Ritter are not going after the chocolate makers, they are going after the retailers, forcing them to remove the bars from their shelves.

Comment by Evert-Jan De Kort (Choqoa.com) on September 7, 2011 at 9:43am

it deserves some action, though off course I have no details of the specific actions you mention. I dropped your story on their FaceBook wall, they were open to reply:

"Hi Evert-Jan, Please note that we are protecting our trade mark here in Germany. Therefore we are suing manufacturer only here in Germany that are producing or distributing square chocolate goods. Hope we could help you with these details.^NC"

 

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