Lindt bunnie shapes "not distinctive"

The spokesman for Lindt was
not available for comment
Friday is said by some to be a good day for leaving Luxembourg, in any direction, in search of fun. But today is different: the tiny Duchy is at the centre of a good deal of concentrated rage from the chocolate animal manufacturing industries.. In Cases T-336/08, T-337/08, T-346/08, T-395/08 Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli v OHIM and T-13/09, Storck v OHIM the General Court of the European Union ruled that chocolate bunnies, mice and reindeer are not protected species, at least when the protection sought is that of a Community trade mark.

According to the Court, rabbits, reindeer, mice and small bells are typical shapes in which chocolate and chocolate goods are presented  --particularly at Easter and Christmas.  As such the shapes are devoid of any distinctive character.

Swiss-based Lindt has so far failed to get EU-wide trade mark protection for the shapes of a plain chocolate bunny and for chocolate bunnies and reindeer wrapped in gold foil with red ribbon around their necks. It has also failed to get protection for the ribbon and attached bell. Berlin-based Storck has unsuccessfully sought Community trade mark bid for the shape of a chocolate mouse.

The Kat would have liked to bring some details of the reasoning, and perhaps a quote or two, but the rulings appear to be available only in French and German.  You can access them via the Curia search facility here.

Source: Stephanie Bodoni, Bloomberg.
Lindt bunnie shapes "not distinctive" Lindt bunnie shapes "not distinctive" Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, December 17, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Maybe the industry will have to adapt - by making distinctive chocolate cats. Tufty and Merpel should get registered ASAP.

  2. Hoorah. Food items shaped like animals to make them more inviting to purchasers and consumers are marketing functional and don't warrant protection.

  3. Aldi were quick off the mark to sell their own chocolate reindeer:

    or were they selling these before the General Court issued its opinion?


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