Haribo takes legal action against alcoholic sweets firm

German confectionary brand Haribo has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against a Spanish start-up, which makes a range of alcoholic gummy bear sweets.

Image: Ositos

As reported by AFP, Bilbao-based Ositos & Co received a cease-and-desist letter from the German confectionary giant, accusing it of unfair competition.

Co-founders of Ositos, Ander Mendez, Julen Justa and Tamar Gigolashvili, told the news agency that the six-page letter demanded that they stop manufacturing their products, destroy all promotional material and cancel their Spanish trademark application.

In addition, Haribo’s lawyers asked the Spanish company to transfer ownership of its domain name, ositosconalcohol.com, to the Germany confectionary giant.

Chief executive of Ositos, Ander Mendez, told AFP: “We’re not doing any harm to their brand and the bears don’t even look similar.”

A spokesperson from Haribo confirmed that the sweet manufacturer had started judicial proceedings “to protect its registered trademarks”.

Ositos’ products are available in Spain as well as online. Their alcohol-infused bears, which are available in 70g tins and 120g bags, contain 15% alcohol, with seven to nine sweets equating to a 150ml glass of wine.

Flavours include gin and strawberry; whiskey and cola; rum and pineapple; Tequila and lemon; and vodka and orange. The company was established a year ago.

Haribo has previously taken action against Swiss company Lindt after the chocolatier produced a range of chocolate bears wrapped in gold foil.

Ositos is not the only producer of alcoholic gummy bears. Back in 2016 Sugarfina launched Yes Way Rosé gummy sweets infused with Whispering Angel rosé. Upon launch in the US, the limited edition product sold out in two hours, crashing Sugarfina’s website in the process, and generated a waiting list of 14,000.

Sugarsin also produces a range of Prosecco-flavoured gummy bears. Meanwhile British confectioners Smith & Sinclair have regularly combined both alcohol and sweet treats, creating a number of product lines including alcoholic fruit pastilles that mimic flavours in popular cocktails. 

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