For the last 13 years, Zurich confectioner Lindt has been at war with German chocolatier Confiserie Riegelein in an effort to prevent it from selling similarly gold-foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies. The battle, which began in 2000, ended this past Thursday when Germany’s Federal Court of Justice rejected Lindt’s final appeal to protect its popular holiday treat, the Goldbunny. The decision determined that it was not legally possible to trademark a gold-foil-wrapped chocolate bunny that had been in general use for decades, even though Lindt has been selling Goldbunnies since 1952.
This decision follows one made by the European Union Court of Justice, which upheld EU trademarks agency OHIM’s decision to reject Lindt’s application to trademark its classic sitting bunny wrapped in foil with a red ribbon bow tie. Its reasoning was that the Goldbunny was devoid of any distinctive character. Despite this, Lindt has had some success in protecting its Goldbunnies. Just last year, an Austrian court ruled that chocolatier Hauswirth could no longer produce Easter bunnies that look similar to Lindt’s.