Tough break for Kit Kat

Swiss chocolate giant Nestle cannot trademark its slogan Have a Break because it lacks specific character, a top European court adviser said today.

Swiss chocolate giant Nestle cannot trademark its slogan Have a Break because it lacks specific character, a top European court adviser said today.

The company uses the phrase to support its Kit Kat chocolate bar Britain with the slogan Have a Break … Have a Kit Kat.

An average consumer would not complete the phrase Have a Break with Have a Kit Kat, argued Juliane Kokott, advocate general at the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

As a result, the phrase Have a Break has not acquired a sufficient “distinctive character” to be trademarked.

The opinions of the Advocate General are followed in about 80% of the cases by the full court. A decision is expected within several months.

Nestle applied in 1995 to have the Have a Break phrase registered for all chocolate products. Rival Mars objected.

The case was brought in Britain, and authorities there blocked the Nestle application on the grounds that the phrase lacked any inherent distinctive character.

Nestle appealed and the British court asked the European Court to issue an opinion.

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