The European court has reportedly ruled against Nestle’s KitKat which has been struggling to trademark its four-finger shaped chocolate bar across the European Union bloc. As per reliable sources, the makers defended the distinctive feature of the bar arguing that it deserves protection, alike Toblerone’s pyramid-shaped chocolate, which is trademarked.
The court reportedly sided with the manufacturers of Kvikk Lunsj, a Norwegian snack quite popular among skiers and hikers, that looks the same as KitKat. Sources familiar with the development claim that the court claimed the shape of KitKat’s chocolate bar to be unrecognizable across all the 28 countries in the EU.
For the record, the legal tussle intensified in 2006 when Nestle secured the trademark for Kitkat’s shape, but was soon challenged by Cadbury, the maker of Kvikk Kunsj’s at that time, now led by Mondelez. Nestle was stripped of the trademark in 2016 when the court declared that the shape of the bar is not recognizable across EU.
The firm then appealed the ruling in the highest court of EU which opined that although the shape is distinct, consumers in Ireland, Belgium, Greece, and Portugal were not familiar with same. Norway does not belong to the EU, however it does follow many of the bloc’s rules, cite sources.
Nestle claims to continue fighting for the trademark and request the appeals board to re-evaluate the evidence, claim sources familiar with the matter.
The case isn’t the first in chocolate makers failing to trademark a shape. The Swiss company Lindt and Spruengli‘s plea to trademark the shape of its Easter special golden bunny with a red ribbon was rejected in 2012 for similar reasons.
For the record, a trademark is granted to a company only when it proves that the shape of their product is unique enough and not simply functional, said Josh Gerben, a trademark attorney in Washington D.C.