May 17, 2017 / 1:31 PM / 3 months ago

Nestle loses UK appeal to trademark Kit Kat's four-fingered shape

A Kitkat chocolate bar is pictured in the supermarket of Nestle headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland, February 16, 2017.Pierre Albouy/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Nestle failed in a new bid to protect the shape of its four-finger Kit Kat chocolate bar under British trademark on Wednesday when London's Court of Appeal dismissed its attempt to overthrow an earlier ruling.

The case pitted Nestle against rival confectionery maker Cadbury, owned by Mondelez, which argued that the four-finger shape "lacked distinctive character".

A UK court had found in Cadbury's favour in January, and Wednesday's ruling is the latest development in an ongoing legal battle since Nestle tried to register the shape as a UK trademark in 2010.

Nestle said it was disappointed by the ruling and was considering next steps.

"Kit Kat is much loved around the world and its four finger-shape is well-known by consumers," a spokeswoman for Nestle said in a statement, adding that it had been granted trademark in Germany, France, Australia, South Africa and Canada.

Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer, which takes its name from a 17th century literary club. The first four-finger wafer was made in York in 1935 and it was rebranded as a Kit Kat in 1937, according to Nestle's website.

In Europe, Nestle's bid to protect the bar's shape was dealt a blow in December when an EU court declared invalid a ruling from 2007 that Kit Kat had acquired distinctive character through its use.

"We are pleased with the Court of Appeal's decision today and welcome their conclusion," a spokeswoman for Mondelez said.

Reporting by Alistair Smout in London and Michael Shields in Zurich; editing by Michael Holden

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