Monday, November 24, 2008

Lindt to lose bunny mark?

One of IP Freely's favourite site the IP Kat has an interesting piece on the Lindt bunny trade mark dispute (original article here). For those of you not aware of the dispute (or the bunny) basically Lindt & Sprungli AG make chocolate bunny's (i.e. rabbits) wrapped in gold foil with a bell tied with red ribbon around their neck (see photo over there> it's the one on the right). Lindt claim that they obtained rights in the bunny "honestly and fairly" and should therefore they should be allowed to rely upon their trade mark (it is registered in Europe) to prevent competitors from making copies.

All's well so far, but Austrian company Hauswirth GmbH have started making chocolate bunny's (in fact is it not bunnies?) wrapped in gold foil, with a bell tied with red ribbon around their neck (see photo, it's the one on the left). Lindt naturally tried to enforce their rights only for Hauswirth to claim that Lindt had obtained these rights in bad faith.
According to Lindt's lawyer: "Here is a product that's been around for some 50 years and sold about 20 million times in the EU in 2000, when we applied for the trade mark...the company acted in good faith when it sought the right to exclude the use of that same product by others".

So what happens now? Basically one of two things either the court will find in Lindt's favour and Hauswirth will have to stop making the bunnies (yeah i've changed from bunny's cos this one looks better) or they find in Hauswirth's favour and remove Lindt's trade mark. Now this does not neccessarily mean that you will not see Lindt bunnies anymore but that there may be other similar looking chocolate bunnies out there. Unfortunately we won't find out for a year anyway!

No comments:

Post a Comment