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Updated July 29th, 2021 at 18:26 IST

German federal court delivers judgement in favour of Lindt in gold bunny battle

A German Federal court ruled on July 29 that the golden shade of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli's gold bunny enjoys protected status.

Apoorva Kaul
Germany
IMAGE: AP/RepresentativeImage | Image:self
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A German Federal Court ruled on July 29 that the golden shade of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli's gold bunny has a protected status. The Federal Court Judges delivered its verdict in a legal battle between Switzerland's Lindt & Spruengli and a German company, Heilemann. The Heilemann company in 2018 had packaged a chocolate bunny in a gold foil wrap. Lindt argued that it had a trademark on the colour acquired for use.

German federal court sides with Lindt

Lindt in court said that its rival had infringed that trademark and that Heilemann should be stopped from selling its product. The German court in its verdict said that the golden hue of the foil wrap on Lindt & Spruengli's Gold Bunny enjoys protected status. The state court in Munich had ruled against Lindt last year, but the federal court found that the Swiss company had proven that the gold shade of its bunny had acquired trademark status by reputation.

The German federal court cited a survey presented by Lindt & Spruengli showing that 70 per cent of respondents associated the colour with the Lindt product. The court while delivering the verdict said that it did not matter that the company did not use the gold colour for all or most of its products, or that the Lindt bunny has other distinguishing features. The court said that Lindt has been selling its Gold Bunny in Germany since 1952 and the product has had its current gold shade since 1994. The court added that by some distance it is the best-selling chocolate Easter bunny in Germany, with a market share of over 40 per cent in 2017. 

The Federal judges sent the case back to Munich to determine whether Heilemann infringed on Lindt's trademark. Last year, the Munich Provincial Court had said that the golden rabbits are not the exclusive heritage of the Lindt brand and other manufacturers can use the same packaging, as per a report by Marketing Directo. The judges had said that the gold colour is not part of the corporate image of Lindt as they use several colours in their packaging. 

IMAGE: AP/RepresentativeImage

Inputs from AP

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Published July 29th, 2021 at 18:26 IST

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