A federal court in Switzerland has confirmed that it will reject Grupo Bimbo’s trademark registration due to “racist connotations”.

The Mexican bakery group had initially attempted to register its trademark “Bimbo QSR” in Switzerland in 2018 but was rejected by the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. The decision has now been backed by the country’s Federal Administrative Court.

The court first objected in 2018 that ‘bimbo’ is a “highly derogatory and racist term in German for a person with dark skin”.

However, Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bakery business, complained in April 2019 that the term was “ambiguous” and was also understood as an Italian term for small child or little boy.

The bakery giant added: “The word element QSR is known to stand for quick service restaurant and makes a racist connotation seem all the more absurd.”

In a statement published yesterday, The Federal Administrative Court said that there are multiple meanings behind the term but ultimately “the ambiguous word ‘bimbo’ is also understood as a racist insult and the complainant is unable to show that another meaning overrides this understanding”.

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It also said regarding the quick service restaurant (QSR) abbreviation: “Since it is an abbreviation of an English word that is used only in a certain industry, it cannot be expected that ‘QSR’ will be understood by the Swiss population or that it will have a certain meaning.

“This would not change the understanding of the first part of the brand. The judgement would be different if additional elements of the mark, such as words or images, directly suggested a meaning of the word ‘bimbo’ other than racist.

“Overall, the ‘Bimbo QSR’ mark is immoral for the claimed food products, food marketing services and bakery and confectionery services,” the court ruled.

The procedural costs of SFr4,200 ($4,600) will be charged to Grupo Bimbo as a result of the outcome.

The group entered Switzerland in 2017 with the acquisition of East Balt Bakeries, a QSR business.

Just Food has contacted Grupo Bimbo for comment.

Last month, the group said it expects to cut its capital expenditure in 2024 and the following year as it reported falling quarterly sales and profits.

The Little Bites brand owner saw its first-quarter net earnings drop more 40% to 2.3bn pesos ($158m).

Operating income fell 16.6% to 6.8bn pesos, while adjusted EBITDA dropped 7.8% to 11.8bn pesos.

Net sales were down 6% at 93.2bn pesos.