Who would of thought that an Easter egg or the Easter bunny could cause such issues? There have been many trade mark infringement and passing-off cases involving these sweet chocolate delights we love to indulge in over the Easter weekend.
A few years back Lindt lost a court case in Germany over its gold Easter bunny trade mark. Lindt alleged that a German chocolate maker had copied its famous gold-wrapped bunny which Lindt had invested substantial amounts into advertising and promotion. The German chocolate maker has produced evidence that it has been making the gold bunny for nearly half a century.
Lindt ran into further problems with their European trade mark application for its sitting bunny shapes wrapped in gold foil with a red ribbon bow tie. The European Courts rejected the trade mark application which in essence would not allow it to sue another party based on the trade mark and stop others from making gold bunnies.
Nestle has also run into some problems with its competitors whereby they alleged trade mark infringement and unfair competition. In this case, a competitor of Nestle had copied various aspects of one of its Easter chocolate products. Nestle had created and sold a chocolate product the prior Easter season which had a distinctive packaging shape and the use of Winnie the Pooh image on the packaging. The competitor had gone so far as to copy the exact shape of the chocolate product and further used Winnie the Pooh and other characters from the Disney saga, which had already been used by Nestlé. The competitor was thus “following the plaintiff’s steps” in terms of marketing strategy with no marketing effort other than paying royalties to the owners of the relevant rights on the above characters.
According to the court, this was “a textbook case of synchronic parasitic competition“ and ordered an injunction/interdict on the competitor.
The Moore team wishes you a happy Easter!