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Swiss court orders Lidl to destroy chocolate bunnies in legal battle with Lindt

A Lindt Gold Rabbit on display during a press conference on the chocolate-maker company's full-year results for 2017, in Kilchberg, Switzerland, in March 2018. File Photo by Melanie Duchene/EPA-EFE
A Lindt Gold Rabbit on display during a press conference on the chocolate-maker company's full-year results for 2017, in Kilchberg, Switzerland, in March 2018. File Photo by Melanie Duchene/EPA-EFE

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court has ordered the discount grocery chain Lidl to destroy its chocolate bunnies in stock in the country while siding with Swiss chocolate maker Lindt and Sprüngli in a yearslong trademark battle.

Lindt first filed court proceedings against Lidl in 2018 arguing that the grocery chain's chocolate bunnies, which are wrapped in gold foil, violate Lindt's Swiss trademark and could be mistaken for the company's own chocolate bunnies.

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The case was dismissed by Switzerland's commercial court in 2021 but the federal court allowed Lindt to appeal the decision.

"Lindt & Sprüngli's chocolate bunny wrapped in aluminum foil -- golden or another color -- enjoys trademark protection against Lidl's competing product," the Federal Supreme Court said in a statement announcing its decision Thursday.

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"Lidl can no longer sell its own rabbit due to the risk of confusion and must destroy the copies still in stock."

The court found that opinion polls filed by Lindt show that the company had better established itself in the market and that Lindt's trademark protections "can be considered common knowledge."

"Lidl's rabbits evoke obvious associations with the shape of Lindt's rabbit. In the mind of the public they cannot be distinguished," the court wrote in its decision.

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The court also granted Lindt's request to order Lidl to "destroy" all its chocolate rabbits still in stock, writing that "the destruction is proportionate, especially since it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such must be destroyed."

Lidl said in a statement to The New York Times that it would not need to destroy any chocolate rabbits since they are a season item that are not currently stocked.

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