German court rules: Only Ritter Sport can sell square chocolate bars

German court rules: Only Ritter Sport can sell square chocolate bars

After years of squabbles over who has the right to make square chocolate bars, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has sided with Ritter Sport. Rival chocolate company Milka had sought to remove trademark protection for the shape. 

Ritter Sport and Milka fight over square chocolate bars

The verdict is in: The only company in Germany allowed to sell their chocolate bars in the shape of a square is Ritter Sport. In so ruling, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) threw out a complaint from rival company Milka, who have for years been trying to fight Ritter Sport’s patent for the square chocolate bar. 

But judges at the court in Karlsruhe ruled that the square shape has no particular additional value that would induce buyers to choose it over other chocolate bars. Instead, they said that consumers see the square shape as an indication that the chocolate was made by a particular company and therefore associate it with certain quality expectations. 

Square. Practical. Good.

Ritter Sport has been advertising their chocolate for decades with the well-known slogan: “Square. Practical. Good” (Quadratisch. Praktisch. Gut). According to company legend, firm co-founder Clara Ritter came up with the shape when trying to design a chocolate bar that weighed the same as a regular one, but would fit into a normal sport jacket pocket without breaking. 

In the 1990s, the company registered the chocolate bar’s distinctive shape and packaging as a trademark and, almost ever since, Milka has been attempting to remove this protection, to allow other manufacturers to sell square chocolate. 

This latest decision marks the second time that the complicated case has been sent to the top civil judges in Karlsruhe. In 2017, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that Ritter could keep the brand. The Federal Patent Court also ruled in 2018 that Ritter’s trademark could remain, but Milka refused to accept the judgement. 



Abi Carter

Managing Editor at IamExpat Media. Abi studied German and History at the University of Manchester and has since lived in Berlin, Hamburg and Utrecht, working since 2017 as a writer,...

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