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British Court Rules Kit Kat Bar Shape Isn't Distinctive Enough to Trademark

Sorry, Nestle: impostor candy bars can stay on the market.


Nestle has failed in an attempt to make Kit Kat the one true breakaway wafer chocolate bar in Great Britain. Britain's High Court ruled Wednesday the shape of a Kit Kat bar has not "acquired a distinctive character" enough to satisfy trademark requirements, reports the Associated Press. The ruling sides with Cadbury U.K. Ltd., which challenged Nestle's attempt to trademark Kit Kat's "four-fingered" shape.

"We believe that the shape deserves to be protected as a trademark in the U.K. and are disappointed that the court did not agree on this occasion," Nestle said in an official statement. The High Court's ruling upheld previous decisions made by other legal bodies, including the European Court of Justice. Nestle reportedly plans to appeal the decision.

The Swiss chocolate company previously pointed to a survey that found 90 percent of respondents mentioned "Kit Kat" when they were shown photos of the distinct candy bar shape. However, the European court determined Nestle "had not established that consumers had come to rely on the shape to identify the origin of the goods."

Despite the legal setback, recent news isn't all bad for Nestle. The company has received praise for pledging to use sustainable chocolate for its Kit Kat brand, and it's also making a move to eliminate fake flavorings and colorings from all of its chocolate candy products.

The decision is a bit of payback for Cadbury. Nestle defeated won a court battle in 2013 when Cadbury attempted to trademark the purple shade of its chocolate wrappers, according to the AP.

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