European Union: The candy wars are closer to the end

September 16, 2015

New developments from Kit Kat and Lindt trademark cases.

Following Cadbury’s efforts to oppose the registration of Kit Kat’s 3-dimensional 4 finger chocolate bar trademark in the United Kingdom, the European Union Court of Justice (EUCJ) has issued a decision past September 16th.

EUCJ clarified that trademark registrations should be refused when it comprises a technical result that is only related to the way a certain good functions, while this does not apply to the manner in which they are made. Furthermore, the court explained that the acquisition of distinctive character by used should only be evaluated in regards to the trademark in question (the 4 fingers bar) and not in connection with any other trademark (the Kit-Kat trademark, for example).

Although some reports (here or here) suggest that Nestlé (to whom KitKat belongs) will have a harder time winning the court case, such is not clear, considering that EUCJ’s ruling was just interpreting EU’s law and the case will go back to the UK Courts for a final decision.

In another candy case, the German Federal Court of Justice decided that Lindt’s 3D golden wrapped chocolate bear trademark was not infringing Haribo’s gummy bear sweets and trademarks, by stating that there was no similarity between the 3-D mark and the word trademark GOLDBEAR that was used by Haribo to support their case.

Among other claims, the court invokes that Haribo that only applied for GOLDBEAR after knowing that Lindt was going to use a golden chocolate bear.

 


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