Lidl ordered to destroy thousands of chocolate bunnies after Lindt wins court fight

Lidl must scrap its Lindt-like chocolate bunnies after losing a legal battle in a Swiss court.

The court found Lindt & Spruengli’s foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies deserve protection from copycat products.

It has now ordered German discounter Lidl to stop selling a similar product in Switzerland and to destroy its remaining stock.

Surveys submitted by Lindt showed Lindt’s Easter bunny was well known to the public, the Federal Court said, adding the two products were likely to be confused even though there were some differences between them.

It overturned a Swiss commercial court’s ruling against Lindt and in favour of two Swiss units of Lidl last year and ordered Lidl to destroy its inventory of chocolate bunnies.

“Destruction is proportionate, especially as it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such would have to be destroyed,” it said in a summary of its verdict.

Swiss premium chocolate maker Lindt has fought many court battles over the years to protect one of its best-selling products.

Germany’s federal court ruled last year that the gold tone of its foil-wrapped Easter bunny had trademark protection.

In a separate case earlier this year, Lidl and Tesco found themselves embroiled £2.35million fighting each other in court over claims Tesco have ripped off Lidl’s logo.

Lidl claim that Tesco are exploiting the background to their trademarked logo – a blue square containing a yellow circle with a thin red border – to promote Clubcard discounts to their own customers.

The German supermarket says the yellow circle with red border on the blue background is a “wordless” trademark even without the Lidl name on it and are seeking to ban Tesco from using a similar background on their “Clubcard Prices” signs at their stores.

It says Tesco is “seeking deliberately to ride on the coat tails of Lidl’s reputation as a ‘discounter’” by using the background to the Lidl logo to promote its Clubcard price cuts.

As part of the evidence backing their claim, Lidl have put before London’s High Court results from a survey, in which interviewees were shown the disputed background without the Lidl name and asked what it was, with “numerous responses” identifying a connection with Lidl.

Giving judgment in a pre-trial skirmish between the two grocery giants, Mrs Justice Joanna Smith handed victory to Lidl, throwing out Tesco’s bid to have the survey evidence ruled inadmissible at trial.

Setting out the shape of the case, the judge said: “In short, Lidl contends that Tesco’s use of a new sign in their ‘Clubcard Prices’ marketing is an infringement.

“In bringing the claim, Lidl relies upon its trade mark rights in two versions of the Lidl logo: a logo which includes the word ‘Lidl’ and a logo without that word, ‘the Wordless Mark’.