Dispute over Butterfinger: A German company is copying an American chocolate bar – at least that’s how brand owner Ferrero felt and complained. But the court sees it differently.
The confectionery group Ferrero failed in court in an attempt to ban an unpopular competitor from using the Butterfinger chocolate bar brand in Germany. The District Court of Munich I has refused to delete the trademark, as the court announced on Tuesday.
However, the Brühl-based competition is no longer allowed to sell its butter fingers in packaging similar to the US original.
The original US packaging is yellow with a large blue lettering “Butterfinger” – this design is reserved according to the Ferrero judgment. The Butterfinger owes its name to the peanut butter and has been a chocolate bar that has been popular in the USA for decades, but the brand has changed hands several times. Ferrero has been a brand owner in the US since 2018, previously it was Nestlé.
Court: “No bad faith trademark application”
In Germany, the butter finger has never achieved greater prominence. Nestlé stopped selling in Germany more than 20 years ago after the environmental organization Greenpeace started an anti-butterfinger campaign because of the genetically modified maize contained in the bars, at least at that time.
According to the Munich district court, Nestlé has not made use of its German trademark rights since the end of 2010 at the latest. The company Übermorgen Trendprodukte from Brühl has been registered as the trademark owner with the German Patent and Trademark Office since 2016. The Munich district court accordingly saw no “bad faith trademark application”.