Just in time for Easter, Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli is celebrating a legal victory over Austrian rival Hauswirth.
On Monday a court in Vienna ordered Hauswirth to stop using a trademarked chocolate bunny design.
Lindt applied for and received a trademark for its gold tinfoil-wrapped bunny with 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.
Nevertheless, on Monday the Austrian court judged that Hauswirth’s bunny could be confused for that made by Lindt. Hauswirth can no longer produce or sell its bunny.
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