They have been fighting like bunnies — but one side was declared the winner this week.
In the epic battle of the chocolate gold foil-wrapped bunnies, the Swiss rabbit, wearing its traditional red bow, has scored a decisive win against its German opponent, wearing a yellow bell around its neck.
Switzerland’s highest court ruled on Thursday in favor of world-renowned Swiss chocolatier Lindt and Sprüngli in a yearslong copyright battle against German retail giant Lidl.
The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland agreed that Lidl’s bunnies looked much too similar to Lindt’s chocolate bunnies, which are protected under Swiss trademark law.
The ruling overturned one made by a Swiss commercial court last year, which had ruled against Lindt.
For this case, lawyers for the Swiss chocolate maker showed the court public surveys showing that its Easter bunny was well known to customers.
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The federal court in Lausanne agreed, saying that, even though there were some differences between them, the similarities could still cause some confusion among consumers.
“Given the overall impression produced, Lidl’s bunnies arouse obvious associations with the shape of Lindt’s,” the court wrote. “In the public mind, they cannot be distinguished.”
As a result, Lidl was ordered to stop selling the product in Switzerland — and also to “destroy” the bunnies it currently has in stock.
“Destruction is proportionate, especially as it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such would have to be destroyed,” the court added, suggesting that the chocolate could be melted and reused somehow.
Earlier this year, the English newspaper LancsLive compared three of the most popular chocolate bunnies sold at local grocery stores — one made by Lindt, another by Lidl, and also one by Aldi.
They found that “each of the three bunnies were practically identical” in the way that they were wrapped, while both the Lidl and Lindt versions “shared similar smoother features” when they were unwrapped.
According to Reuters, Lindt has fought several other legal battles over the years to protect its chocolate bunny, one of the company’s best-selling products.