Chocolate wars: Nestle loses bid to trademark KitKat shape

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Chocolate Wars: Nestle Loses Bid to Trademark KitKat Shape

LONDON (AP) — Nestle has lost a long-running court battle to trademark the four-finger shape of its KitKat chocolate bar in Britain.

The Swiss food giant first tried to register the trademark in 2010, but the application was opposed by rival chocolate maker Cadbury U.K. Ltd.

The case was previously dismissed by other courts including the European Court of Justice. Britain's High Court on Wednesday upheld those decisions, ruling that the shape of a KitKat bar has not "acquired a distinctive character" enough to satisfy trademark requirements.

Nestle said it was disappointed by the ruling and planned to appeal the decision.

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Kit Kat candy bars from around the world
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Chocolate wars: Nestle loses bid to trademark KitKat shape

Bars of KitKat chocolate, produced by Nestle SA, sit on display at Nestle's headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. Nestle, the world's biggest food company, forecast 2015 sales growth near the low end of its long-term target after reporting the slowest annual sales growth in five years, hit by stagnant revenue in China.

(Photo: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bags of mini KitKat confectionary, produced by Nestle SA, sit for sale inside a Dixy supermarket operated by OAO Dixy Group in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Suppliers suffering from ruble depreciation this quarter are urging retailers to increase prices.

(Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

KitKat chocolate confectionary bars, manufactured by Nestle SA, sit displayed for sale in a newsagent's store in London, U.K., on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. The cost of chocolate is set to rise, propelled by raw sugar trading at a nine-month high and this year's 60 percent increase in cocoa butter combined with the arrival of Christmas demand. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
University of Tokyo students display a large sized KitKat chocolate bar, measuring 100 x 60 x 20cm and weighing 80kg, as they encourage high school students preparing for the forthcoming entrance exminations in Tokyo on December 13, 2011. The KitKat is known as a lucky food for entrance examination in Japan as it is pronounced 'kitto katsu' in Japanese which means 'I surely win'. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
Bars of KitKat chocolates, manufactured by Nestle SA, are arranged for a photograph ahead of the company's results news conference in Vevey, Switzerland, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012. Nestle SA, the world's biggest food company, reported 2011 sales growth that beat analysts' estimates and forecast higher 2012 earnings as it introduces products such as the Nescafe Alegria coffee maker. Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Four different types of Kit Kat chocolate bars. (Photo by Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Bars of KitKat chocolate, produced by Nestle SA, sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Nestle SA, the world's biggest food company, will start certifying some KitKat bars in the U.K. and Ireland as Fairtrade, following Cadbury Plc, which started producing mass-market Fairtrade chocolate this year. Photographer: Jason Adlen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bars of original KitKat chocolate, produced by Nestle SA, and without the 'Fairtrade' logo sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Nestle SA, the world's biggest food company, will start certifying some KitKat bars in the U.K. and Ireland as Fairtrade, following Cadbury Plc, which started producing mass-market Fairtrade chocolate this year. Photographer: Jason Adlen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A General Picture of Nestle Kit Kat Easter egg
PHILADELPHIA, USA - OCTOBER 30, 2014: Kit Kat bar isolated on white. Kit Kat is a chocolate biscuit bar confection that is manufactured by Nestle
Bars of original KitKat chocolate, produced by Nestle SA, and without the 'Fairtrade' logo sit arranged for a photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Dec.7, 2009. Nestle SA, the world's biggest food company, will start certifying some KitKat bars in the U.K. and Ireland as Fairtrade, following Cadbury Plc, which started producing mass-market Fairtrade chocolate this year. Photographer: Jason Adlen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Green Tea (Matcha) KitKats, Japanese version of popular US candy.
Kit Kat, the nations favourite, chocolate bar is soon to be on sale in a third flavour, mint. The new version called Kit Kat Mint will hit the shops on Monday and is being introduced by popular demand. Kit Kat Orange, launched a year ago generated more than 4,500 complimentary letters from consumers. Over 500 of them suggested a Kit Kat mint, although others wanted a liquorice, passion fruit or marshmallow variant. See PA Story CONSUMER KitKat
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It argued that the shape of the four-finger snack has been used in Britain for more than 80 years and is well-known to consumers.

"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," the company said.

It's not the first time Cadbury and Nestle have tussled over confectionery in a British court. In 2013, Nestle won a court battle over Cadbury's attempt to register the purple shade of its chocolate wrappers as a trademark.

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