Thousands of bunnies will be incinerated after luxury Swiss chocolate maker Lindt won a court case against Lidl.
The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland ruled that Lidl’s chocolate bunnies wrapped in aluminium foil, whether ‘golden or of another colour’, were too similar to Lindt’s.
It banned the chain’s Swiss branches Lidl Schweiz and Lidl Schweiz DL from selling similar bunnies and ordered the destruction of any still in stock.
Lindt & Sprungli sued in 2018, claiming that Lidl’s bunnies had a very similar shape and appearance and could be confused with its flagship Easter product.
But the commercial court of Switzerland’s Aargau canton, west of Zurich, dismissed Lindt’s action in 2021.
Switzerland’s highest court found the shape of the bunnies was ‘associated by a very large part of the public with Lindt’.
However, Switzerland’s highest court overturned the decision, finding that Lidl’s bunnies posed ‘a risk of confusion even if the two products present certain differences’.
‘Given the overall impression produced, Lidl’s bunnies arouse obvious associations with the shape of Lindt’s,’ the federal court said.
‘In the public mind, they cannot be distinguished.’
Lindt provided consumer surveys showing that its bunny had achieved a level of general public awareness.
The Federal Supreme Court decided that it ‘can be considered common knowledge that the shapes that Lindt & Sprungli has had protected by trademark law are associated by a very large part of the public with the Lindt & Sprungli company’.
Contacted by AFP, Lidl said it could not provide ‘any information concerning legal proceedings which are still ongoing’.
It comes after the hotly contested court case between Marks and Spencer’s and Aldi was finally settled earlier this year in a confidential deal.
The British retailer had accused the German discounter of copying the design of its famous Colin the Caterpillar for their rival Cuthbert.
Lawyers had been brought in on the intellectual property claim, which even made it to the High Court last year.
Both supermarkets confirmed in February that an agreement has been struck to resolve the conflict.
Details of the ‘confidential’ deal have not been revealed, but it is understood that Cuthbert will not appear again in quite the same form.