Famous Teddy Bear Maker Steiff Loses Court Case on Ear Tag

BRUSSELS—A top European Union court has struck down a bid by German manufacturer Steiff seeking trademark protection for its characteristic buttoning of its logo into the ear of its teddy bears and other soft toys.

The General Court in Luxembourg ruled Thursday trademark protection can’t be granted because buttoning the label to the soft toy’s ear lacks a “distinctive character” and doesn’t in itself enable average consumers to recognize the product’s origin.

The ruling deals a blow to the German high-end manufacturer, which sought better protection from competitors selling cheaper soft toys with similar ear buttons.

The ruling confirms a 2010 decision by Europe’s Community Trade Office.

Steiff, founded in 1880 in southwestern Germany, can still file an appeal against the decision to the EU’s highest court.


  • rg9rts

    Let me guess the knockoffs come from china

  • Michael678

    Limited U.S. Power in a Globalizing Economy – Tim Taylor

    Freedom Industries came into existence on December 31, 2013. The
    product of a merger with 3 other companies. (Cliff Forrest owns Freedom

    On January 9, 2014, state officials discovered 7500 gallons of a
    coal-cleaning agent leaking down the riverside banks of Freedom
    Industries into the Elk River.

    That Elk River feeds into an intake tank for water distribution to citizens.

    That toxic chemical feed into the water supply resulted in more than
    300 people being sent to hospitals with symptoms due to the spill.

    Today (January 17, 2014), Freedom Industries filed for Chapter 11
    bankruptcy in a move to protect it from creditors and more than two
    dozen lawsuits that residents and businesses have already filed over the

    When a company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it has to find another
    company to lend it money to restructure. In exchange for lending money
    to a company in such dire straits… that company doing the lending gets
    first dibs at the bankruptcy-filing company’s assets if that company
    goes totally under.

    A newly-formed company (just incorporated on the day Freedom
    Industries filed bankruptcy), Mountaineer Funding, LLC, stepped up to
    provide Freedom Industries with its bankruptcy financing.

    Mountaineer Funding, LLC has only two officers, and J. Clifford Forrest is one of them.

    And, Cliff Forrest is the owner of Freedom Industries.

    So, Freedom Industries, with its massive legal liability for taking
    out 1/6 of WV’s water supply, is quietly killed by filing for bankruptcy
    while its assets are taken over by a company that gave it bankruptcy
    financing. That company is called Mountaineer Funding and it is owned by
    a man whose name bears a striking resemblence to the name of Freedom
    Industries’ current owner.

    Link to the news story below.