Authors: Violeta Sutkiene, associated partner at METIDA, Head of the Trademark and Design Division
Easter is one of the main and most beautiful festivals of the spring time to all Christians worldwide. The celebration of the resurrection of Christ is inherent to the awakening of nature as well as the joys and merries of the come-back spring. The preparation for as well as celebrations of the feasts in Lithuania and across other Christian countries is unimaginable without a plethora of customs. Decorated eggs, which are one the underlying symbols of Easter for the Lithuanians as they are for many other nations, lend meaning to new life and the revival of nature. Another symbol characteristic to this celebration is an Easter bunny. Parents like telling their children that the Bunny brings decorated eggs and sweets to good children, just like Santa Claus does.
These days, decorated eggs are increasingly superseded by chocolate treats. Retailers say that the most popular items before Easter include chocolate eggs and bunnies.
One could hardly find a child who has never received one of the most popular treats, i.e. a chocolate egg with a toy inside Kinder Surprise, for Easter. These sweet gifts can be acquired in almost each and every shopping centre. Without doubt, the shape, combination of colours and packaging of this original sweet treat have been protected by many three-dimensional and figurative trade marks:
Chocolate bunnies also surge the display shelves in stores before Easter and watch the customers provocatively. Nonetheless, even chocolate bunnies benefit from the protection granted by a three-dimensional trade mark. There has been a long-standing dispute between the producers of chocolate bunnies, i.e. the Swiss company Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG, and the German chocolate producer Franz Hauswirth GmbH in connection with the legalisation of exclusive rights to the mentioned three-dimensional trade mark. However, following the judgment of the European Court of Justice, the Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG claim was dismissed in 2009 and the German company Franz Hauswirth GmbH also retained its right to market chocolate bunnies. Bunnies wrapped in gold-coloured foil and embellished with red ribbons have been protected by three-dimensional trade marks:
Products under the following trademarks are offered in the Lithuanian market: Easter Beer, chocolate Easter Woman or Easter Wine.
Many chocolate eggs, bunnies and other Easter treats are not the same. They vary not only in terms of their taste and price, but also in their shape and combination of colours that have been protected under certain trade marks and distinctive design.