Since the early 1900s, the German chocolate brand Ritter Sport has had a country-wide monopoly on the square shape of their beloved chocolate bars. They made it official in 1993 when the family company registered the shape with the German patent and trademark office.
But since 2010, rival chocolate brand Milka has been attempting to challenge Ritter Sport’s monopoly on the aesthetically-pleasing chocolate squares. In 2016, Milka was able to briefly get the trademark overturned, but on Thursday, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled in favor of Ritter Sport.
The BBC reports that the square shape of the Ritter Sport chocolate bars dates back to the year 1932 when the company’s co-founder Clara Ritter came up with the idea.
“Let’s make a chocolate bar that fits in everyone’s jacket pocket without breaking and weighs the same as a normal long bar,” she is supposed to have said (although in German).
I’m sorry, we’re calling Elon Musk an innovator when Clara Ritter exists? Flying cars are nice and all, but more portable chocolate bars are the kind of innovation that tangibly changes lives for the better.
The decision of the German Federal Court of Justice concluded that consumers viewed the square nature of the Ritter Sport chocolate bars as reflective of both where the chocolate came from, as well as its quality. And since the square nature of the bar didn’t lead to differences in price, and there was no particular artistic value to the difference, the judges allowed Ritter Sport to retain their patent.
No one asked for my opinion, but something about the square shape of the Ritter Sport bars really does make the chocolate taste better. Brb, I have to go buy $20 worth of chocolate for.... research purposes.