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Norway’s Kvikk Lunsj foils Nestlé’s KitKat plot

Kvikk Lunsj, the chocolate wafer snack beloved by hikers across Norway, has upset a scheme by the Swiss confectionary giant Nestlé to trademark the four-finger bar concept for itself.

Norway's Kvikk Lunsj foils Nestlé's KitKat plot
A Kvikk Lunsj snack laid out during summer hiking trip. Photo: Kvikk Lunsj/Facebook
Nestlé has been battling to trademark the shape of the KitKat, a bar first produced by Rowntree in 1935 in the UK, against the unyielding opposition of the US food giant Mondelēz International.
 
Mondelēz owns both Cadbury’s, Nestlé’s bitter rival in the UK sweets market, and Freia, the Norwegian confectionary company which launched Kvikk Lunsj in 1937. 
 
In its application, Nestlé argued that since more than 90 percent of British people associated the shape of the bar with the trademark KitKat, it should be allowed to trademark it. 
 
However, Mondelēz successfully argued that since Kvikk Lunsj existed, and was also for sale in some UK shops, Nestlé’s application should be rejected. 
 
Last week, Melchior Wathelet, Advocate-general at the European Courts of Justice, ruled against Nestlé, probably ending its attempt to trademark the shape. 
 
Norwegians consume an average of nine Kvikk Lunsj bars a year, three of which are consumed at Easter, when Norwegians families traditionally go off on cross-country skiing trips fuelled by Kvikk Lunsj calories. 

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NESTLE

Norway’s Kvikk Lunsj beats KitKat in EU courts

Norway's Kvikk Lunsj bar has won the right to remain on sale in the UK, after it won a legal battle with the makers of KitKat, who had attempted to trademark the four finger bar concept.

Norway's Kvikk Lunsj beats KitKat in EU courts
A Kvikk Lunsj snack laid out during summer hiking trip. Photo: Kvikk Lunsj/Facebook

The feud between Nestlé, which makes KitKat, and Mondelēz International, the makers of Kvikk Lunsj, began in 2010, when Nestlé first attempted to trademark the shape of its four-finger KitKat chocolate bar in the UK.

Mondelēz disputed the application, arguing that Kvikk Lunsj, which was created in 1937, also had a four finger appearance, and could be found in some UK shops. 

 

Norwegians consume an average of nine Kvikk Lunsj bars a year, three of which are consumed at Easter, when Norwegian families traditionally go off on cross-country skiing trips, fuelled by Kvikk Lunsj calories.

Rowntree's began making a four-finger bar in 1935, but called it “Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp”, only renaming it “KitKat Chocolate Crisp” in 1937.

On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice ruled that the appearance of KitKat's chocolate covered wafers was not distinct enough to trademark.

The EU judges noted that the trademark Nestlé is seeking differs from the actual product because it shows only a picture of the bar and omits the embossed word “KitKat” and sections of its oval logo.
 
“The trade mark applicant must prove that the relevant class of persons perceive the goods or services designated exclusively by the mark applied for, as opposed to any other mark which might also be present, as originating from a particular company,” it said in its ruling.

In a few months time the case will return to the UK's High Court, whose judges will decide if Kvikk Lunsj will remain on sale in the UK.

“It is up to the British courts to decide, on the basis of this response, if the form of KitKat chocolate bars can be registered as a trademark or not,” the EU court said in a statement.

For now, Kvikk Lunsj loving Brits can breath a sigh of relief, if they can find the product in a UK shop that is.