Lindt chocolate maker sees German federal court side with it in Gold Bunny battle

The court ruled that that company’s hugely popular chocolate Easter bunny enjoys protected status in a case involving another company that used a gold foil wrap.

SHARE Lindt chocolate maker sees German federal court side with it in Gold Bunny battle
A German federal court ruled that the golden shade of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli’s Gold Bunny, a popular chocolate Easter bunny, enjoys protected status.

A German federal court ruled that the golden shade of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli’s Gold Bunny, a popular chocolate Easter bunny, enjoys protected status.

Winfried Rothermel / AP

BERLIN — A German federal court has ruled that the golden shade of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli’s Gold Bunny, a popular chocolate Easter bunny, enjoys protected status.

The Federal Court of Justice delivered its verdict in a battle between Switzerland’s Lindt and a German company, Heilemann, which in 2018 also marketed a chocolate bunny in a gold foil wrap.

Lindt argued that it had a trademark on the color acquired by use, that its rival had infringed that trademark and that Heilemann should be prevented from selling its product.

A state court in Munich ruled against Lindt last year.

But the federal court found the Swiss company had proven that the gold shade of its bunny had acquired trademark status by reputation, citing a survey presented by the manufacturer showing that 70% of respondents associated the gold hue with Lindt’s product.

The court said it didn’t matter that the company didn’t use the gold color for all or most of its products or that the Lindt bunny has other distinguishing features, like a red collar.

Lindt has sold its Gold Bunny in Germany since 1952, and the product has had its current gold shade since 1994. It is by some distance the best-selling chocolate Easter bunny in Germany, with a market share over 40% in 2017, according to the court.

Federal judges have sent the case back to Munich to determine whether Heilemann actually infringed on Lindt’s trademark.

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