Lindt & Sprüngli's foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies deserve protection from copycat products, Switzerland's highest court ruled on Thursday, and 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'
'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 July of this year, the Swiss chocolate maker raised its sales guidance and unveiled a CHF 1 billion (€1.02 billion) share buyback programme after first-half net profit jumped 36% to CHF 138.4 million.
Growth in the global chocolate market has been sluggish of late, but Lindt & Sprüngli managed to outperform the market because customers are willing to pay more for its upmarket products and the novelties it launches regularly.
News by Reuters, edited by ESM. For more A-Brands news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.