The European Court of Justice has rejected Nestle's attempt to gain a trade mark for the shape of its KitKat chocolate bar, suggesting that the shape itself is not distinctive enough for consumers to associate it with the brand.

Nestle first attempted to gain UK trademark protection for its four-fingered KitKat bar in 2010. This was contested by Mondelez International in 2011. A court in 2013 rejected the trademark bid saying it was "devoid of inherent distinctive character," which Nestle then appealed.

The case will now return to the UK High Court for further consideration, a spokesperson for Nestle told just-food.

The spokesperson said: "Nestle is pleased with the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union and now looks forward to the decision of the UK High Court."

A spokesperson for Mondelez said that the European ruling supported its argument that the KitKat shape is not distinctive enough to be trademarked. "We are pleased by this ruling by the European Court of Justice which is in line with our contention that the shape of the Kit Kat bar is not distinctive enough to be protected as a trade mark," the spokesperson said.