Whilst the Easter bunny was busy preparing for the Easter rush, Lindt was busy licking its wounds and counting its losses last Thursday, after a twelve year court battle was ended when Lindt’s final appeal to the German Federal Court of Justice failed.
Lindt had challenged German manufacturer Confiserie Riegelein’s use of gold foil wrapping which it claimed to be iconic of the Lindt gold bunny. Previously the German Court found it was unlikely the two chocolate bunnies could be confused, given the different colour of the two bunnies, the absence of the red ribbon on the Riegelein bunny and its expression being “cheerful” whilst the Lindt bunny’s expression was described as “dignified”.
One could say that the head of the German family owned business was “wrapped” with the result of the protracted battle, providing certainty for Confiserie Riegelein’s Easter offerings.
Lindt was disappointed with the outcome but said it would respect the decision of the court, noting they spend considerable resources promoting its product to increase brand awareness. Lindt also said they “will continue to defend their Lindt gold bunny in the future wherever necessary.” So expect to see Lindt take judicial action where necessary.
This latest ruling only adds to Lindt’s litigation losses. Last year the Court of Justice of the European Union upheld the ruling of the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market, the European Union trademark agency, rejecting Lindt’s application to trademark the bunny shape wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon tie, saying it was devoid of distinctive character.
However, it has not been all sore paws for Lindt, as earlier last year it won a battle against family-owned Austrian-rival, Hauswirth. An Austrian court ruled that Hauswirth could no longer produce gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies that look like those made by Lindt.