Court: KitKat Can't Trademark Its 4 'Fingers'

Nestle's lost this round in long legal battle with Cadbury ... for now
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 11:55 AM CDT
Court: KitKat Can't Trademark Its 4 'Fingers'
The KitKat trademark fight is headed back to the UK.   (Nestle)

It started with a candy wrapper and ended (for now) in a courtroom. Nestle's attempts to trademark the shape of its "four-fingered" KitKat have been rejected by the European Court of Justice, which ruled that shape alone isn't enough to recognize it as a KitKat, the BBC reports. The decision was a setback for Nestle—which manages the brand overseas; Hershey is licensed to sell the brand here in the US—and a victory for Cadbury, which was trying to block the trademark. The ruling means that, for now, other candy companies can make similar-looking chocolate bars. Nestle, which reaped more than $60 million a year from 2008 to 2010 in the UK from KitKat, argued that the four-fingered design has become inextricably associated with the KitKat brand over the past eight decades, Bloomberg notes.

But Cadbury said the shape wasn't enough to make a consumer automatically think "KitKat," and the court agreed. The BBC even notes that in Norway, a lesser-known chocolate bar called Kvikk Lunsj ("quick lunch") has been around for nearly as long as KitKat. The fight between the two confectionary giants is the second major brouhaha they've had in recent years: In 2013, Nestle managed to block Cadbury's attempts to trademark its signature purple-colored chocolate wrappers, per Bloomberg. KitKat case now heads back to the UK High Court, which will render a final decision. (Claims of excess lead in Nestle noodles led to a major recall in India.)

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