Toblerone is one of the most famous brands of chocolates in the world. Its history started in the early 20 century when Emil Baumann and Theodor Tobler created the product formula and its unique triangle shape that by itself is a registered trademark around the world.
Recently, the company owner of the brand Mondelez International Inc. announced its plan to transfer the production of the chocolate to Slovakia.
This is the reason why Mondelez has to change some elements of Toblerone’s packaging. In the future, the visual element of the well-known Matterhorn maintain will disappear from Toblerone as well as the claim “made in Switzerland”.
The reason for this is the strict Swiss law that protects Swissness. According to this legislation, one product can be labeled as made in the country and can use distinctive Swiss signs and geographical places only if 80% of the raw materials needed for the production are originating from Switzerland, for milk the requirement is 100%. There are some exceptions, for raw materials such as cacao which cannot be produced in the country.
This is a good example, of how one country’s reputation related to quality characteristics can be maintained over time. Apart from this, such an approach helps significantly in the development of the local economy too.
The Swiss Federal Court has issued a ruling in a lawsuit between the well-known chocolate producer Lindt & Sprüngli and the grocery stores chain Lidl.
The case concerns the following chocolate bunny offered by Lidl under trademark Favorina:
This product resembles the famous golden chocolate bunny produced by Lindt & Sprüngli for which the company has the following registered 3D trademark in Switzerland.
Due to this, a lawsuit was initiated.
Taking into account all facts and evidence, the Court found a trademark infringement considering Lidl’s product similar enough in order to create confusion in the public mind. The Court issued an injunction against Lidl and prohibited the store’s chain from producing and distributing copies of the Lindt golden bunny.
According to the Court, the dermoscopic surveys provided by Lindt & Sprüngli proved unquestionably that the shape of the Lindt Gold Bunny has become a trademark through long and intensive market use. What’s more this conclusion does not depend on the color of the product at hand.
The Court dismissed the argument that the available Favorina trademark label on Lidl’s product can distinguish both products in the consumers’ eyes. The reason for this was the fact that consumers do not pay high attention when purchasing foodstuff which means that they can buy a product only based on its recognizable shape without the need to read the mark on it.
Source: Kluwer Trademark Blog