Swiss food giant Nestlé has lost its battle to register the phrase “have a break” as a trademark after objections from US rival Mars proved successful.

Nestlé, which manufactures the KitKat chocolate bar that has long been advertised with the slogan “Have a break. Have a KitKat”, had attempted to register “have a break” as a trademark to prevent rivals from introducing a chocolate bar called “Break” or “Have a Break”. Nestlé argued that such a bar would be mistakenly associated with KitKat. Nestlé already has the phrase “Have a break, have a KitKat” registered as a trademark.

The UK subsidiary of Nestlé had its application to the Trade Mark Registry turned down following an objection from US food company Mars. Nestlé appealed to the High Court in London, claiming that consumer research suggested a substantial number of members of the public replied: “Have a KitKat”, when prompted with the phrase “Have a break”.

Justice Colin Rimer, however, ruled that Nestlé had failed to use the phrase on its own to more than a minimal extent and so the registry hearing officer’s decision was upheld.

Lawyers for Nestlé are thought to be considering taking the issue to the Court of Appeal and even the European Court of Justice, reported the Financial Times.