The four finger KitKat bar will soon lose its protected EU trademark status, after a ruling by the European court of justice said the chocolate was not well enough known in Belgium, Ireland, Greece and Portugal.
Nestlé had submitted evidence to the judges sitting in Luxembourg that the chocolate was sufficiently well known in Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and the UK, but not other countries.
For the trademark to be valid, the company would have had to prove the design is well known across all EU member states.
As a result of this ruling, which is not legally binding but typically adhered to, the four finger shape can now be potentially copied by imitators.
The case is part of a wider series of legal battles between Nestlé and Mondelēz International, previously known as Cadbury Schweppes. Nestlé was originally given a trademark for the design in 2006, which Cadbury Schweppes then challenged. Nestlé, in turn, is challenging Mondelēz’s British trademark for the shade of purple on its Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bars.
The EU intellectual property office was later said to have erred in law by granting the 2006 trademark, which specifically covered the four finger design and not the two finger design.