Dividends and Lidl ordered to destroy chocolate bunnies

All companies operate on a cycle and if they are in the retail environment, they will have special days or special items which encourages shoppers to go the stores. You can easily think about Prime days with Amazon, Black Fridays for Christmas season specials and a host of other items. Many companies have or market items for a particular holiday and over the years the holiday is linked to the retail item.

In an article by Michael Levenson of the New York Times News Service, around Easter you will see advertisements for chocolate bunnies. The premium chocolate bunny is made by Lindt, a Swiss chocolatier. The bunny comes in a gold foil with a red ribbon and Lindt spends a great deal of money to encourage people to upgrade and buy their bunny.

Success brings copies or similar looking items and in Germany, the discount chain Lidl stocks bunnies in a gold foil to sell chocolate bunnies. The Lindt people did not like the copying of their bunnies and went to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to make their case. The Court agreed with Lindt and told the German company to destroy the chocolate bunnies in stock, which Lidl responded we do have any because it is a seasonal item.

Lindt sells over 160 million gold bunnies a year and other companies including Godiva, noted they try to ensure the chocolate bunnies do not look like the Lindt bunnies. The Lidl bunnies had a yellow or green ribbon rather than the red one. Lindt is a global manufacturer of chocolates and has many lawyers protecting what it believes are its trademarks.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, all successful companies have teams of lawyers to ensure the brand they sell is not copied by everyone else. Lawsuits are normal part of operations and if they are not suing, there is something wrong. Individually you are not likely to be regularly sued, but successful companies are and how well they protect their trademarks is important to understand.

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.

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