Court's copyright decision against chocolate maker Lindt

Businesses throughout the world, including New York, take a multitude of steps to help their products sell better than others on the market. One of those steps is to protect the appearance of its product and prevent other businesses from duplicating it. This may be done via a copyright registration. Recently a copyright issue that may be of interest to individuals throughout the world, reached a conclusion in a federal court in Germany.

The court's decision came at an appropriate time of year, considering the subject of the lawsuit-- gold-foil wrapped Easter bunny chocolates. Swiss chocolatier, Lindt & Spruengli, had been attempting to trademark the Easter treat to keep others chocolate makers from packaging their chocolate rabbits in the same manner. Lindt had been trying to register the product for 12 years. This was the fourth such case it had litigated regarding the issue.

The question facing the administrative court was if the gold-foil wrapped Easter bunny chocolates could be registered as a copyright after having been used for years as a trademark. The court apparently determined they could not. This lack of copyright protection is a boon to competitors of the Swiss company as it makes it possible for them to make and sell similar products.

These types of cases can be drawn out and expensive. They are also usually very complex. Depending on the size of the business involved in such a conflict, its survival could be at stake. For these reasons it is important to work with a lawyer who understands the processes and options.

Source: NPR.com, "Chocolatiers Lindt Loses Final Appeal To Trademark Golden Easter Bunnies," Eyder Peralta, March 28, 2013

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