The KitKat brand is very strong in the UK. Its associated with having a cup of tea and snapping off that foil covered chocolate finger. But it’s not the case everywhere.
The European Court of Justice has thrown out an appeal by Nestlé, the makers of Kitkat who have spent more than a decade trying to trademark their shape of chocolate. Having been locked in a fued with Cadbury over weather or not they have the right to “own” the shape.
In the UK we are very familiar with the shape as well as in most of Europe, the “KitKat Shape” is a KitKat, however in Norway they have “Kvikk Lunsj” which has the same shape and this is where the issue lies. The EU says that for any company to own the intellectual property for a shape of a chocolate bar it must be ‘iconic’ in all territories. Which KitKat is, with the exception of Norway where they have had the Kvikk Lunsj for over 80 years. For this reason the attempt to trademark the shape has been thrown out of court.
So where does this leave KitKat’s brand?
Has the KitKat Brand been damaged by the EU’s court ruling?
Well I don’t think it’s been a disaster for KitKat. If nothing else they have had free Europe wide adverts across all news stations and newspapers. The whole point of this court case was to establish that KitKat was indeed the famous four fingered chocolate bar, and with all the coverage it would surely go on to help them.
But to the public they are just another chocolate bar, and using bullying tactics to stop anyone else make a similar bar probably won’t go down well. That said, snap buying decisions for things like chocolate comes down to subconscious associations so the fact that you’ve read this article on KitKat makes it much more likely that you would pick one up tomorrow given an option.
All brands want to protect their USP, and I can’t see that anyone who decided now to bring out a new four fingered chocolate bar now would be doing anything but copying, and copying is the highest form of flattery, as in this case the KitKat brand is so strong, you would relegated to the lower leagues with Virgin cola.
This has surly strengthened the KitKat brand, who presumably will be expecting increased turnover this quarter.