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Ernst Tanner, CEO of Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli addresses the annual news conference in Kilchberg near Zurich March 1, 2012. (ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS)
Ernst Tanner, CEO of Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli addresses the annual news conference in Kilchberg near Zurich March 1, 2012. (ARND WIEGMANN/REUTERS)

Chocolate wars: Lindt loses German case over Easter bunny trademark Add to ...

Swiss premium chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli has lost a court battle to protect its gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies from imitation by a German rival.

Lindt, which traces its origins to a Zurich confectionery shop set up in the 1840s, has been fighting German chocolate maker Confiserie Riegelein since 2000 to try to stop it producing similar chocolate bunnies.

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But Germany’s Federal Court of Justice rejected a final appeal by Lindt & Spruengli on Thursday.

“We are very glad that this case has found a happy ending for us after some 12 years,” Peter Riegelein, head of the family-owned German business, said in a statement.

“The sitting gold-wrapped bunny has been a firm part of our offering for at least a half century,” he said. “Now it is finally clear that it can stay as it is.”

Lindt is disappointed but will continue to defend its strong brand, a spokeswoman told the SDA news agency.

Last year, the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld a decision of the EU trademarks agency OHIM, which rejected Lindt’s application for a trademark of its sitting bunny shapes wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon bow tie.

Earlier last year, however, an Austrian court ruled that family-owned rival Hauswirth could no longer produce Easter bunnies that look like those made by Lindt.

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