Kit Kat shape mark triumphs in South Africa but stumbles in Singapore

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Ups and downs for Nestlé in safeguarding the Kit Kat shape
Ups and downs for Nestlé in safeguarding the Kit Kat shape

Related tags Trademark Brand

Nestlé has successfully protected its trademark for the Kit Kat shape in South Africa, but has lost a similar case against Petra Foods in Singapore.

South Africa’s Supreme Court last week ruled​ that International Foodstuffs’ (IFFCO’s) Tiffany Break brand contravened Nestlé’s trademarks on the 2-finger and 4-finger wafer shape, overturning an earlier decision.

However, the Swiss giant lost the Kit Kat shape trademark in Singapore in the same week following a case against Singaporean group Petra Foods.

Lost case against Petra

Delfi take it petra
Petra Foods' Delfi Take-It brand

Last year, Nestlé accused Petra Foods of infringing its Singapore trade marks for “2 Wafer Finger” and“4 Wafer Finger” shapes with Petra’s Delfi Take-It bar.

Singapore's High Court last week ruled in Petra’s favor and accepted a counterclaim to annul Nestlé’s Singaporean trademarks for the Kit Kat shape.

“We are very disappointed by the Singapore High Court decision, which comes after having had a positive ruling on the same point from the South African Supreme Court,”​ Lydia Méziani, senior corporate spokesperson, told ConfectioneryNews.

Nestlé likely to appeal Singaporean ruling

“Further, the UK High Court draft judgment, which the Singapore High Court mentioned, is under referral to the European Court of Justice on points of law for decision in the course of 2015. We have not yet fully analyzed the Singapore decision but we will in all likelihood appeal it,” ​said Méziani.

Kit Kat has been on sale in the Singaporean market since the 1950s. Petra Foods did not respond to our request for comment. Last year, it said that the Delfi Take-It’ brand in Singapore made up less than 0.1% of sales in its Branded Consumer Division’s, but it would fight the case against Nestlé as a matter of principle.

In July 2013, the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) rejected Nestlé’s application​ to trademark the four-finger Kit-Kat shape after opposition from Mondelez International-owned Cadbury.

South Africa ruling

Tiffany Break 4 finger
IFFCO's Tiffany Break found to infringe Kit Kat shape trademarks.

South Africa’s Supreme Court last week found in Nestlé’s favor and prohibited IFFCO from selling finger wafer shapes which are confusingly similar to the Kit Kat two and four-finger shapes.

Judge of Appeal KGB Swain said that Nestlé’s wafer shape trade marks were distinctive and added:“It is quite clear that the finger wafer shape trade marks in issue do not grant Nestlé a monopoly over trapezoidal shaped chocolate bars.”

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