After the latest developments in the dispute between Lindt and its German competitor Riegelein (see our report here), the Austrian state broadcaster ORF now reports on the latest instalment in the gold bunny dispute between Lindt and its Austrian competitor Hauswirth. Our readers will recall the ECJ's judgment in C‑529/07 Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG v Franz Hauswirth GmbH, also known as the "Easter bunnies' case", which was a reference for a preliminary ruling from Austria on the question of how to establish bad faith in trade mark invalidity proceedings.
Earlier this year the Commercial Court of Vienna (Wiener Handelsgericht) had decided that Hauswirth (see Hauswirth's bunny wearing a ribbon in the Austrian national colours red and white to the right and the report on Marques Class 46 here) was no longer allowed to sell chocolate bunnies that are confusingly similar to Lindt’s bunnies. Unsurprisingly Hauswirth has appealed the decision.
Intriguingly, the ORF appears to be privy to the details of the settlement negotiations between both parties. The ORF cites Mr. Roman Hauswirth as saying that Hauswirth's offer to settle the dispute on an each party bearing their own costs basis; with Hauswirth's bunny still being wrapped in gold foil and still having the bunny wear its red-white-red ribbon had been refused by Lindt. According to the ORF, Lindt is asking for the exact opposite: Hauswirth should bear all costs of the dispute and the Hauswirth gold bunny should be taken off the shelves altogether. Mr. Hauswirth confirmed that Hauswirth will refuse Lindt's offer but he is nonetheless hopeful that the OLG Frankfurt's decision may reinvigorate the settlement talks between Lindt and Hauswirth.
Reading the ORF's account of the settlement negotiations between Lindt and Hauswirth, it appears to this Kat that an amicable settlement may not yet be in immediate reach.
In the meantime, after perusing the Marques Class 46 blog and German Markenblog.de Merpel discovered a recent International trade mark registration No. 1090383 in the name of Lindt (shown on the left as filed, as shown on the shelves, see right) ... now when will there be a gold foil wrapped chocolate cat?