Sounds like falafel | Marcel Strigberger

By Marcel Strigberger

Law360 Canada (October 7, 2022, 2:33 PM EDT) --
Marcel Strigberger
Marcel Strigberger
Are the courts going down the rabbit hole? 

Switzerland's highest court in a copyright case sided with chocolate company Lindt ordering its German company rival, Lidl to destroy all its Easter bunnies as they supposedly look like the Lindt rabbits. Both versions have gold wrappings and bells, but the Lindt ones have red bows and the Lidl ones green. The court thought consumers might be confused. 

Give me a break. If consumers in Switzerland can’t tell red from green, they shouldn’t be operating cars. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all driving along some narrow road up the Alps with any of these guys zooming by. I certainly would not ask any of them for directions.

Interestingly the commercial court of first instance ruled in favour of Lidl. Looks like even judges can’t all agree on bugsies. Bottom line is that for Lidl, this little bunny will not be going to market. Lidl’s rabbits will not be multiplying.

But all is not totally wasted. The court did rule that Lidl may now melt down its entire stock. Actually I Googled what a group of bunnies is called and to my surprise, the cluster is called a “fluffle.” Sounds like falafel.

But then again is it not a pity to destroy the entire fluffle? After all they are certainly aesthetic and decorative. I wonder whether Lidl can at least hand some of these green-ribboned destined for the melting pot products to their lawyers as gifts.

Would their lawyers be in breach of the court ruling in accepting them? Can they take a chance? Which lawyer wants to have his or her house raided by something like the Swiss Chocolate Guards. They bust in with specially trained chocolate bunny sniffing beagles. The hounds readily find the banned bunnies. The lawyer pleads he only had a couple in his possession. And for personal use. The lead guard says, “No matter. You are in possession of contraband. You’re under arrest. The court ordered the destruction of the entire fluffle.”

Badda boom badda bing!

It seems similar actions over animal copycats have taken place between large corporations

Marks and Spencer last year sued German supermarket giant Aldi, in England’s High Court claiming Aldi’s Cuthbert cake was too similar to its own Colin the Caterpillar. 

I can see how M&S can get their knickers in a knot over this kind of ruse. Imagine Cuthbert, trying to impersonate Colin the Caterpillar. I wouldn’t put up with it.

And given the dignified atmosphere of the British High Court, the hearing of this case could look a bit weird. I visualize a team of barristers in their robes and wigs putting forth their solemn arguments:

PLAINTIFF BARRISTER: My lord, the defendant is compromising the integrity of Colin the Caterpillar.

DEFENDANT BARRISTER: Surely Your Lordship will see no resemblance between Cuthbert and Colin. The two caterpillars are not at all on all fours. Hrmph!

I sympathize with the defendant, actually. In my opinion no doubt each brand has its loyal following. It’s like sports. I grew up in Montreal. Once a Habs fan, always a Habs fan. My kids are die-hard Leaf fans.

Same therefore with those cakes. A Cuthbert lover will have nothing to do with Colin the Caterpillar.

And do not ask me what a group of caterpillars is called. I queried Siri and she responded, “Ask me another question. You’re weird.”

Incidentally the case did settle this year. I wonder how. The agreement is confidential. An Aldi spokesperson did say, “Cuthbert is free and looking forward to seeing all his fans very soon.”

What did they do to Cuthbert? Turn him into a butterfly?

And speaking of confections, I am sorry to announce that a truck carrying a full load of candy lost its load following a highway collision with another truck on Highway 99 in California. I don’t have much more information, but the good news is no bunnies or caterpillars were hurt.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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