Swiss food giant Nestle has failed to convince European judges that it has the right to trademark the shape of its four-finger KitKat bar in the UK.
The European Court of Justice said that Nestle had to demonstrate the public relied on the shape alone to identify the snack.
The judges concluded this was difficult to prove if goods also showed a brand name such as KitKat.
Rival Cadbury has battled to prevent Nestle obtaining the trademark.
Both Nestle and Cadbury said they were “pleased” with the ruling.
The case will now return to the UK High Court for a final decision.
Nestle claimed that in the 80 years since the chocolate bar was introduced, the four fingers have become almost completely associated with KitKats.
In June, a senior European court lawyer, the advocate-general, disagreed saying such a trademark did not comply with European law.
Nestle has not sought to trademark the two-fingered bar.
Today’s ruling is the latest development in a more than 10-year legal battle between Nestle and Cadbury, which started when Cadbury tried to trademark the purple color it uses on its Cadbury chocolate wrappers.
Nestle objected and finally had the original decision allowing Cadbury to trademark the color overturned in 2013.
Now it would appear Cadbury, which is owned by Mondelez International, has scored a significant but not final victory in the continuing chocolate war.
It has always argued the shape alone was not distinctive enough for consumers to associate it with the rival snack.
A bar called the Kvikk Lunsj, meaning “quick lunch”, launched in Norway in 1937 is available in some UK stores, and although less well known, looks similar to the four-finger KitKat.
A ruling in favor of Nestle would stop other confectionery producers making chocolate bars of the same shape or size.
Google has launched Nexus 5 – the latest incarnation of its flagship Nexus smartphone.
Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger.
The Nexus 5 has been developed to show off the capabilities of the new version of the Android operating system.
Called Kitkat, the software has been designed to work well on both high-end smartphones and cheaper feature phones.
The alliance with Google has helped bolster LG’s fortunes even though, according to statistics from Gartner, it is still a long way behind rivals Samsung and Apple.
In the April-to-June quarter, the consultancy indicated 3.8% of all smartphones sold were LG handsets putting the South Korean firm in third place.
Made by LG, Google’s Nexus 5 is smaller, slimmer and lighter than the Nexus 4 but its 4.96 in touchscreen is bigger
By contrast, Apple accounted for 18.8% of all sales and Samsung 29.7%.
The specifications for the new phone were widely leaked before it was announced on the official Google blog.
The Nexus 5 shares some of the hardware from LG’s G2 handset and can record and play back HD video at the full 1080p resolution. Its camera also has a rapid burst system that captures several photographs at the same time so owners can pick the best shot.
The handset is due to go on sale on November 1st in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea.
Google said a base 16GB version of the device would cost $349 in the US, unlocked and without a contract. The 32GB version should cost $399.
With Android Kitkat, Google said it had made the software use less memory so it could be used on handsets with much lower specifications than top end smartphones.
In addition, Google has begun moving some services off Android’s core software and onto its app store. Many see this as a way for it to maintain more control over the security of the software and its associated applications.
Nestle, the world’s biggest food group, has reported rising sales but says it is having a “challenging year”.
The Swiss company said its sales in the first three months of 2012 were 21.4 billion Swiss francs ($23.4 billion), up 5.6% from the same period last year.
The group behind KitKat and Nespresso said that the trading environment had been subdued in many developed markets.
But it added that in most emerging markets “conditions remain dynamic and rich in growth opportunities”.
Nestle, the world's biggest food group has reported rising sales but says it is having a "challenging year"
Nestle struggled in 2011 with the strength of the Swiss franc, which cut its earnings by 13.4% in the full year.
But in the past six months the Swiss central bank has been intervening to weaken its currency and support the country’s exporters.
Nestle said an expected “improved raw material environment” in the second half of the year together with rising prices meant it could maintain its forecast of improved earnings and profit margins for the full year.
It did not comment on the deal it is expected to finalize this month to buy Pfizer’s infant nutrition business for about $9 billion.