Lindt vs. Lidl (The War of the chocolate bunnies)

The Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli finally won the court case against the supermarket chain Lidl for the iconic bunny. This ruling overturn an earlier decision by a lower Swiss court, in which Lidl still came out on top.

It is considered that one of Lindt`s best-selling products is the chocolate bunny wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon and bell, which enjoys shape mark protection since 2001. Based on this shape mark registration, Lindt filed a lawsuit against Lidl in 2018, which sold a similar bunny (see picture below).

In the course of the proceedings, Lidl, argued that the shape of Lindt’s bunny is typical for chocolate bunnies and is not distinctive. It was Lidl`s point that Lindt’s shape mark would not meet the strict requirements of the distinctive character of shape marks. On the other hand, Lindt relied on the market research showing that the Swiss consumer associates the shape of the chocolate bunny with Lindt. According to Lindt, there were insignificant differences between the bunnies, which could easily lead to confusion of the consumers.

However, the highest Swiss court recently ruled that supermarket discounter Lidl can no longer sell its chocolate bunnies because the shape of Lidls’ bunnies is too similar to Lindt’s iconic bunny, which has been on the market since 1952. Following the decision Lidl was instructed to destroy its stock of bunnies, since in the opinion of the court “it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such should be destroyed, rather it can be used for other purposes”.

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