Kit Kat loses bid to trademark four-finger shape | News | DW | 25.07.2018
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Kit Kat loses bid to trademark four-finger shape

The EU's top court has ruled that Kit Kat's trademark of the four-finger shape across the bloc be reconsidered. Nestle has been involved in a decade-long legal battle with US rival Mondelez over the distinct shape.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday ordered the bloc's Intellectual Property Office to "reconsider" Kit Kat's EU-wide trademark of the chocolate bar's distinctive four-finger shape.

The court wouldn't give Nestle a break in its decade-long legal battle with US rival Mondelez, maker of Cadbury chocolate, over the four-fingered wafer biscuit which was first sold in 1935.

Read more: Poison candy: Are chocolates, sweets and sugary snacks ever healthy?

The ECJ did not cancel the trademark, as suggested by the court's top advisor in April, but said the EU's Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) must go back to the drawing board and revisit its 2006 decision to grant Kit Kat an EU trademark based on its shape.

In 2006, the EUIPO allowed Nestle to trademark what the court calls the "three-dimensional shape of the 'Kit Kat 4 fingers' product."

Norwegen, Oslo: Streit um Kvikk Lunsj und Kitkat (picture-alliance/AP/F. Hagen)

The rival: Nestle has been in a 10-year legal war with US company Mondelez over the shape of its Kvikk Lunsj chocolate bar

'No one has won'

The court said Nestle had failed to provide evidence that the Kit Kat shape was well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece and Portugal.

Read more: Why do we love sugar?

A lower EU court "was right to annul the EU's intellectual property office decision, in which it concluded that distinctive character had been acquired" without including those countries in the case, a statement said. The trade mark criteria "must be shown throughout the EU," it continued.

"Today no one has won, no one has lost. Nestle has saved time because its brand remains registered for the time being," a court source told French news agency AFP.

"But Nestle did lose a battle as it would have preferred a full confirmation of the EUIPO decision," the source added.

law/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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