Who Owns 'Snowflake?' Polar Bear Trademark Battle Grips Nuremberg

Nuremberg zoo is embroiled in a dispute with a Bavarian confectionary firm over who owns the right to the "Snowflake" trademark. If Knut is anything to go by, the marketing rights for the little polar bear could be worth millions.

Nuremberg zoo's most famous resident, Snowflake the polar bear cub, is going from strength to strength, packing away a liter of milk a day and romping around in her new enclosure without a care in the world.


But Nuremberg city officials are feeling less relaxed these days: They're embroiled in a dispute with a Bavarian confectionary firm over who owns the rights to the trademark "Flocke," as the cute little furball is known in German.

The company, which is based in Burgberg in Bavaria, registered the name "Flocke" as a trademark with the German Patent Office on Jan. 13, just days before the zoo chose the baby bear's official name and before Nuremberg could claim the trademark for itself.

The city official responsible for marketing Snowflake, Ronald Höfler, argues that the firm's products -- mainly herbal lozenges -- "have never had anything to do with polar bears."

However Werner Schubert, a project manager from the firm, says that they plan to develop a range of Snowflake-themed products. "We didn't want a fight," he says. "We just found the name very pretty." The Nuremberg district court is due to rule on the dispute on Friday.

There is potentially a lot of money at stake. Berlin Zoo registered the name Knut as a trademark early on and has made millions from marketing its famous bear.



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