European Court of Justice: An appeal filed by Nestlé, chocolate maker, arguing for registration of the trademark in the shape of KIT KAT chocolate bar, was dismissed.
Two giants of the chocolate industry, Nestlé and Cadbury, have fought for more than a decade over the trademark in the shape of the four-fingered chocolate bar. In 2002, Nestlé applied for trademarking KIT KAT in Europe. The application was not only for the bar embossed with KIT KAT logo but also for the shape of the bar itself- four trapezoidal bars aligned on a rectangular base. The EU Trademark Office granted Nestlé’s application. In 2007, court battle began over the trademark in the shape of the bar. The question was whether the brand had become distinctive enough to deserve its trademark- that its shape alone was how people recognize the snack.
ECJ in its ruling, essentially dismissed Nestlé’s claim, by observing that it is not enough to prove that a product has become iconic in a significant part of EU, it has to be proven across all the markets of the block. The Court directed the EU Trademark Office to reconsider its decision.