Nestle’s trademark troubles escalated in 2007 when confectioner Cadbury challenged the trademark. Kraft spinoff Mondelez inherited the case after Kraft acquired Cadbury. Mondelez owns Freia, a Norwegian brand once owned by Cadbury that manufactures a chocolate and wafer bar bearing an uncanny resemblance to a Kit Kat bar. Freia calls its bar Kvikk Lunsj, pronounced “quick lunch.” The Norwegian bar was first manufactured in 1937, two years after Kit Kat’s first bar hit the market, according to the BBC.
Though the bars look the same, a taste comparison done by the Guardian ranked the taste of Kvikk Lunsj higher, mentioning that the chocolate tasted like Milka, another Mondelez-owned brand.
After a few years of bureaucratic appeals, Mondelez brought the matter to the European Union courts in 2013, arguing that the act of stamping a Kit Kat logo on a shape used by other confectioners does not mean that Nestle owns that shape. In the end, Nestle was unable to prove that the shape of a Kit Kat was distinctive enough throughout the E.U. to deserve an exclusive trademark. The decision opens up options for Mondelez to sell Kvikk Lunsj and similarly shaped bars throughout the E.U.
Kit Kat is not the only chocolate bar to stake a claim to a distinctive shape. The BBC reported that owners of the pyramid-shaped Toblerone chocolate bar challenged British competitor Poundland when it produced a bar with a similar shape. Toblerone and Poundland settled out of court. The Toblerone shape is protected by copyright; the brand is owned by Mondelez.