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This week, a Swiss icon won a victory over an Austrian imposter. The Lindt chocolate company has, just in time for Easter, finally succeeded in having Austrian rival, Hauswirth, banned from selling chocolate bunnies, wrapped in gold paper, with red ribbons round their necks.
Over the course of several years, a bitter dispute between the two chocolate manufacturers has turned a usually sweet business very sour indeed.
Lindt’s famous gold easter bunny, described as ‘magical, majestic even,’ by enthusiastic company managers, was awarded a trademark way back in the year 2000, and ever since the company has been seeking out other companies producing similar items and taking legal action against them.
Despite small differences in the Hauswirth bunny—it is larger than Lindt’s, and rather brasher, with flirtatious eyelashes, ostentatious whiskers, and a red and white striped ribbon, Lindt argued that customers could be confused, and end up buying an inferior bunny when what they had really wanted was Lindt.
A compromise seemed near a couple of years ago, when Lindt suggested the Hauswirth bunny change its colours: bronze wrapping instead of gold, a green ribbon instead of red. This was a step too far for the Austrian company, which had itself been making red and gold bunnies for almost half a century.
But now the Austrians have lost the battle of the bunnies where it counts most— in court in Vienna—and Hauswirth will no longer be allowed to make those particular chocolate rabbits. Meanwhile the Lindt bunny is riding high, appearing at celebrity fund raisers, even having its likeness created in something more valuable than chocolate: solid gold, set with diamonds and rubies. That luxury bunny posed for an easter display in London’s upmarket Harrods, smugly safe in the knowledge that the Austrian imposters are most likely on their way to a melting reincarnation into chickens or eggs.
But the battle’s not quite over yet. Hauswirth is threatening to appeal the Vienna court’s decision. Meanwhile another upstart bunny has appeared on the horizon. German company Riegelein produces a variety of chocolate rabbits—some in pink paper with white spots, but some, worryingly, in gold, with what looks suspiciously like a red ribbon.
Clearly, after the Vienna victory, it’s going to be open season on any gold bunny that doesn’t bear the Lindt name. Run rabbit run then, or get a new outfit with no gold or red in it, because nowadays, with global markets and free trade meaning countries can’t use national interest to protect their wares, branding and trademarks are the way to do it.
Total comments: 1 | Add to the discussion.
Does it really matter whether these bunnies in Austria are wrapped in the same way as the swiss ones after all its not like they are being sold here in switzerland is it. Also I dont think Lindt chocolate is that good give me a bunny made from cadburys chocolate any day. so come on lets at least try and be adult about this.