24 April 2014

Lindt told chocolate bunnies can't be trademarked

13:17, Bloomberg News

Lindt & Spruengli, the world’s largest maker of premium chocolate, can’t seek a trademark for gold-wrapped chocolate rabbits with a red ribbon, according to a ruling from the European Court of Justice.

The chocolate maker in 2001 gained a trademark valid across the 27-nation EU for a chocolate Easter bunny wrapped in gold foil emblazoned with the word “Lindt” and bearing a red ribbon.

In today’s case Lindt was seeking protection for the same bunny, minus the name, which would have given it wider rights.

"The shape of a chocolate rabbit with a red ribbon cannot be registered as a community trade mark," according to a statement from the Luxembourg-based tribunal. "The Court of Justice confirms that this shape is devoid of any distinctive character."

Lindt has since 2004 failed to get EU-wide trademark protection for the shapes of a plain chocolate bunny and chocolate bunnies and reindeer wrapped in gold foil with red ribbon around their necks. It also failed to get protection for the ribbon and attached bell.

The EU trademark agency based in Alicante, Spain, in 2008 said the shapes were too common.

Today’s ruling from the Luxembourg-based tribunal is binding.

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