Lindt & Sprüngli bunny ruling upheld
Austria’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by a company making chocolate bunnies similar to those trademarked by Swiss manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli.
The court upheld an earlier ruling by the commerce court in Vienna which ordered Austrian rival Hauswirth to stop producing chocolate bunnies in a gold foil wrapping.
The firm must immediately cease production and distribution of the products across the European Union territory.
Lindt applied for and received a trademark for its gold tinfoil-wrapped bunny with a red ribbon and bell in 2000. It then began taking action against chocolate makers who it felt were making bunnies too similar to its own.
Hauswirth disputed the validity of Lindt’s trademark, however, claiming chocolate bunnies had been wrapped in gold foil for decades. It also argued that making a rabbit-shaped piece of chocolate was such a technological challenge that it was inevitable that most would end up looking similar.
An Austrian court judged on 31 March that Hauswirth’s bunny could be confused for that 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.
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