Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli has lost a court battle to protect its gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies being imitated by a German rival.
Lindt, which traces its origins to a Zurich confectionery shop set up in the 1840s, has been fighting Germany’s Confiserie Riegelein since 2000 to try to stop it producing similar chocolate bunnies.
But on Thursday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice rejected a final appeal by Lindt.
"We’re very glad that this case has found a happy ending for us after some 12 years," Peter Riegelein, head of the family-owned German business, said in a statement.
"The sitting gold-wrapped bunny has been a firm part of our range for at least half a century. Now it is finally clear that it can stay as it is."
A Lindt spokeswoman said the company was “very, very disappointed” but had to accept the decision and would continue to defend its strong brand “whenever necessary”.
Last year, the European Union Court of Justice upheld a decision of the EU trademarks agency which rejected Lindt’s application for a trademark of its sitting bunny shapes wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon bow tie.
Earlier last year, however, an Austrian court ruled that family-owned rival Hauswirth could no longer produce Easter bunnies that look like those made by Lindt.
Lindt first made its gold-wrapped bunny in the 1950s, and has been selling them in Austria since 1994. Tens of millions are sold each year around the world.
swissinfo.ch and agencies