Ritter Sport wins German court battle over square chocolate

A German federal court has cleared the way for Ritter Sport to maintain its status as the only widely known square chocolate in its home market

BERLIN —
A German federal court cleared the way Thursday for Ritter Sport to maintain its status as the only widely known square chocolate in its home market.

The Federal Court of Justice delivered its verdict in a back-and-forth, decade-long battle between Ritter and rival Milka, whose owner a decade ago sought to have the German patent office cancel Ritter’s registrations in 1996 and 2001 of its characteristic packaging.

Ritter says its square chocolate blocks date back to 1932, with co-founder Clara Ritter reasoning that the company should make a bar “that fits in the pocket of every sports jacket without breaking and weighs the same as the normal long bar.”

The federal court ruled that the case for canceling Ritter’s trademark registrations for the packaging was unfounded. It said that is because they “do not consist exclusively of a form that gives the goods a significant value.”

It also noted that a federal patent court which previously ruled in favor of Ritter had found that the square shape of the packaging “has no special artistic value and also does not lead to significant price differences compared with similar products.”