Knocking Off Bunnies

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Switzerland’s highest court ordered German supermarket chain Lidl to destroy its chocolate bunnies after the retailer lost a copyright lawsuit brought by Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, Business Insider reported this week.

The case is connected to Lindt’s well-known chocolate rabbits – the company has held a trademark on the shape since 2001. The Swiss chocolatier said it produces 150 million of these golden, red-ribbon bunnies annually, which are sold in 50 countries.

Lidl, meanwhile, is known for producing cheaper alternatives to branded items but found itself in trouble after the Swiss firm sued the German retailer for creating a copycat chocolate bunny.

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland ruled in favor of Lindt, saying that the chocolate maker deserved protection from copycat products.

The court also recommended that the chocolate used in Lidl’s bunnies could be melted down to create other products.

Chocolate bunny trademark disputes are not new to Lindt: In July 2021, a German court ruled that the bunny’s gold tone had legal protection.

A similar trademark case occurred between another German discounter, Aldi, and British retailer Marks and Spencer over similar-looking caterpillar-shaped chocolate cakes – Aldi’s “Cuthbert the Caterpillar” versus Marks and Spencer’s “Colin the Caterpillar.”

Marks and Spencer’s suit was settled in February and Cuthbert returned to Aldi’s shelves in June.

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