Simon Mowbray
Masterfoods has failed in a nine-year fight to trademark the shape of the rounded ends and wave pattern on Bounty chocolate bars.
The food giant is understood to have made the initial application in 1995 in a bid to stave off competition from potential branded and current own label rivals.
Asda and Nestlé were among the companies that objected to Masterfoods’ request to the UK Trade Marks Registry.
Rejecting Masterfoods’ proposal, the Registrar ruled that he did not consider the shape of the Bounty chocolate bar to be either strikingly novel or
inherently distinctive. He also refused the application on the grounds that consumers did not rely on the shape of the Bounty bar to identify it for purchase. Stephen James, president of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, said: “To acquire distinctiveness for a particular shape or pattern is never easy.
“In order to succeed, it is important for the owner of the mark to use it in a manner that the relevant public will also understand - that the particular shape or pattern is being used as an identifier of the goods.”
Asda spokesman Nick Agarwal said Masterfoods’ bid was “peculiar” and added that the retailers’ own label Coconut Dream offering outsold Bounty at Asda by five to one.
No-one from Masterfoods was available to comment.