kit kat bar
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Nestle Loses 16-Year Legal Battle, Can't Trademark Shape of Kit Kats

Break me off a piece of that European Court of Justice ruling
kit kat bar
Dreamstime

Nestle attempted to trademark the shape of their four-fingered Kit Kat bar, but the European Court of Justice ruled to reexamine.  

Although Nestle might have asked the European Court of Justice to give them a break, the judgement was not in their favor. After a 16-year legal battle to trademark the shape of the Kit Kat bar, the court confirmed a lower tribunal’s decision to annul Nestle’s claim. This is sweet news for competitor brands who make identically shaped treats such as Cadbury and Norway’s Kvikk Lunsj.

According to BBC News, in 2002 Nestle attempted to trademark the “four trapezoidal bars aligned on a rectangular base” that make the shape of a Kit Kat. In 2006, the EU’s Intellectual Property Office granted the trademark. However, Kvikk Lunsj (pronounced “quick lunch”) and Mondelez International (which owns Cadbury, Milka, Oreo, and Toblerone) fired back in 2007, as the brands have their own four-fingered chocolate bars. That lasted all the way until 2016, when a lower EU court decided that Nestle had to prove Kit Kat was recognizable in every EU country. The BBC reports that no evidence was presented for Belgium, Ireland, Greece, and Portugal.

On July 25 2018, the European Court of Justice decided to back the 2016 decision, which means the trademark’s validity will be re-examined under strict conditions, Bloomberg reports. A Nestle representative told the publication that it remains optimistic about the uniqueness of its Kit Kat shape. “We think the evidence proves that the familiar shape of our iconic four finger KitKat is distinctive enough to be registered as an EU trademark,” they said.

The Daily Meal has reached out to both Nestle and Mondelez for comment.

Regardless of shape or imitation, Kit Kats are still one of the most popular snack foods of the last 10 decades.

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