19 May 2017

Nestle loses legal fight to trademark four-fingered KitKat bars

Nestle has lost the latest stage of its legal battle with Cadbury to trademark Kit-Kat's four-finger shape in Britain.

The Swiss company has been fighting Mondelez - the US business that has owned Cadbury since a hostile takeover in 2010 - for years over the bar's shape arguing that it is unique and should be protected. However, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Cadbury on Wednesday, saying the shape was not protected.

Next steps

But, it might not end there. Nestle said in a statement that it was ‘disappointed’ it also revealed that the fight may not be over as it was ‘considering its next steps’. A spokesperson for Nestle added: ‘This judgment does not mean that our four finger-shape is now free for use in the UK or elsewhere. KitKat is much loved around the world and its four finger-shape is well known by consumers.’ Nestle’s four finger-shape has been granted trademark registration in other countries such as Germany, France, Australia, South Africa and Canada.


Nestle originally registered the three-dimensional shape of its four-fingered chocolate bar in 2006 with Cadbury applying to cancel the registration, a claim it won in 2012. The fight then went on to the legal system, going as high as the Appeal Court in the latest ruling. Now Nestle could take the Kit-Kat battle to the Supreme Court.

'Wecome their conclusion'

A Mondelez spokesman said: ‘We are pleased with the Court of Appeal’s decision today and welcome their conclusion. As we have previously stated, we do not believe the shape of the KitKat bar should be protected as a trade mark in the UK.’