NESTLE has been given two fingers by Court of Appeal judges after it tried to trademark the shape of its famous four-fingered KitKat bar.
The ruling is the latest in a decade-long tussle between Nestle and Cadbury.
The Dairy Milk maker had its own attempt to trademark the shade of purple it uses on chocolate bar packaging rejected after Nestle complained.
But now Nestle bosses have had their plans foiled.
They say the KitKat shape is ”iconic” and deserves protection but an initial trademark appeal was refused last year.
Mr Justice Arnold analysed Nestle’s application after rival Cadbury objected and considered issues relating to the ”distinctive character” of the ”three-dimensional shape”.
He ruled against Nestle after a High Court hearing in London in January 2016.
Three appeal judges analysed the case earlier this year and dismissed Nestle’s challenge today.
A spokesperson for the Swiss confectionery firm said the company is now considering its next steps.
The ruling could lead to copycat version of bars hitting shelves – a practice that has been made popular by discount supermarkets.
Nestle warned that the judgement “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.”
Nestlé’s four finger-shapes has been granted trademark registration in Germany, France, Australia, South Africa and Canada.
The chocolate maker could still take the case to the Supreme Court.
Cadbury’s owner, Mondelez, which fought the attempt 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 Kit Kat bar should be protected as a trade mark in the UK.”
New lower sugar KitKat’s hit the shelves earlier this year as part of Nestle’s promise to cut sugar by 10 per cent across it chocolate bars.
Sweet treat makers are planning to shrink bars by 20 per cent as part of a crackdown on sugar.