Lidl has been ordered to destroy its foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies after the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland found it was too similar to Lindt's popular chocolate bunnies. On Thursday, the court ruled the Swiss-founded chocolatier and confectionery company deserves protection from copycat products, officially overturning a ruling made last year against Lindt by a Swiss commercial court.
Lindt won copyright protection against the German retailer based on the results of opinion polls submitted by the company. Those surveys, per CNN, showed the two products were likely to be confused. Lindt's chocolate bunny is sold in various sizes and is wrapped in gold-colored foil with a red ribbon and small bell, while the Lidl bunny wears a yellow or green ribbon. Although there are some differences between the two products, the court ruled that the two products were likely to be confused.
In a summary of its verdict, the court said, "Destruction is proportionate, especially as it does not necessarily mean that the chocolate as such would have to be destroyed." As part of the ruling, Lidl has been ordered to stop selling its gold foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies and to destroy its existing stock. Per Independent, Lidl confirmed that only its chocolate bunnies are discontinued in Lidl Switzerland only, though they will continue to be sold in other Lidl supermarkets outside the country, including the UK.
The case was not the first time Lidl has been in court over its chocolate bunnies. In recent years, the company has been to court on multiple occasions in an ongoing effort to protect its popular chocolate bunny. In 2000, the company applied for, and was granted the following year, a trademark on the three-dimensional shape of its bunny.
This marks just the latest news to hit a major chocolate company. Back in April, Italian confectionery group Ferrero issued a massive multi-country recall of its Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs amid a sweeping salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 100 children. The cases were linked to Kinder products produced at the company's Arlon, Belgium plant, which was temporarily closed before later reopening. In a statement at the time, Ferrero said they "deeply regret this matter" and thanked "authorities for the ongoing collaboration and recommendations." The company went on to ensure consumers that it takes "food safety extremely seriously and every step we have taken has been guided by our commitment to consumer care."