More reports on: Foods / beverages

Court of Appeals turns down trademark protection for shape of Nestle's KitKat bar

18 May 2017

The UK Court of Appeal judges in London have nixed Nestle's attempts to trademark the shape of its famous four-fingered KitKat bar, in what is seen as the latest twist in a decade-long UK chocolate wars between Nestle and Cadbury.

Nestle had claimed that the shape of the bar was so unique, it needed legal protection, but the claim had failed to cut ice with judges time after time.

Also, the fact that a similar Norwegian bar, called Kvikk Lunsj, meaning "quick lunch" and had been around since 1937 did not help matters.

According to a spokesperson for Nestle, the company was now weighing its options.

"Nestle is disappointed by the Court of Appeal judgment and is considering next steps.

"KitKat is much loved around the world and its four-finger shape is well known by consumers.

"Nestlé's four-finger shape has been granted trademark registration in many countries of the world, for instance Germany, France, Australia, South Africa and Canada, further protecting it from imitations."

Cadbury's owner, Mondelez, which fought-off the attempt, said, "We are pleased with the Court of Appeal's decision today and welcome their conclusion.

According to commentators, the UK ruling could lead to a wave of copycat KitKats flooding supermarket shelves.

The ruling is the latest in a series of long running skirmishes between two of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers.

KitKat had been around, more or less unchanged, since 1935 when it was launched as Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp and renamed KitKat after the KitKat Club, a famous London political club of the 18th century.

The ownership of the brand passed on to Nestle after it acquired Rowntree's in 1988.

While the word ''KitKat'', its red packaging and the slogan ''Have a Break'' had already been trademarked, the shape of the bar itself lacked the protection.

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