Score one for Cadbury in the chocolate wars.
Cadbury and other European chocolate makers may be on their way to making their own KitKat-like candy bars after the British High Court denied KitKat's attempt to trademark its four-finger wafer shape. Nestle, which makes KitKats, told CBS MoneyWatch that it plans to appeal the judgment.
The ruling is the latest salvo in a battle between Nestle and Cadbury for chocolate dominance, with the KitKat maker trying for the past five years to ensure that rivals couldn't copy the bar's signature design. In the latest case, British judge Richard Arnold ruled that the four-fingered candy wasn't distinctive enough to merit a trademark, and added that consumers weren't likely to confuse similarly shaped foods with KitKat bars.
Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mondelez, whose brands include Toblerone and Milka chocolates, is the second -argest candy maker in the world, following Mars. Nestle is ranked fourth by sales, according to the International Cocoa Organization.
In the U.S. KitKat is made by Hershey Foods (HSY).
"KitKat is much loved, and the iconic shape of the four-finger bar, which has been used in the UK for more than 80 years, is well known by consumers," a Nestle spokesman said in a statement. "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."