London’s Court of Appeal has flipped the bird at an attempt by Nestle to trademark all the rude hand gestures that are currently in existence.
Nestle claims that the four-fingers of its KitKat chocolate snack constitutes a trademark and therefore a royalty should be paid every time somebody decides to use one of their fingers to make a rude gesture.
Nestle’s Head of Offensive Signalling Mrs. Philippa Bird said, “Nestlé’s four-finger shape has been granted a trademark registration in many countries of the world and as a result, any such permutation of using four fingers would in essence constitute an infringement. Sticking two fingers up at someone, flipping the bird, doing the ‘wanker’ sign and intimating that somebody is a ‘dickhead,’ all require the use of at least one of somebody’s four main fingers.”
Mondelez, the owner of Cadburys which fought Nestle’s trademark attempt, said that they welcomed the decision of the court after demonstrating how it’s possible to be incredibly offensive regardless of the shape of the chocolate in question – although the judge stated that spitting mouthfuls of Toblerone at members of the jury was not admissible as evidence.
In September 2015, Nestle also failed to persuade European judges of the arguments it was making.
The European Court of Justice said the company had failed to demonstrate that the public relies on the shape of a KitKat alone to let someone in close proximity know what a tool they are, and that most offensive hand gestures are accompanied by the use of phrases such as, ‘Fuckoff you knobhead!’ or ‘Suck your momma you prick!’
“KitKat is much loved around the world and its four-finger shape is well known by consumers. There is a whole plethora of hand sign usage taking place where at least one of the four main fingers are being used and in our opinion this constitutes a violation of our intellectual property rights. Whilst we have failed to secure a trademark for rude hand gestures on this occasion, our legal team is looking at other avenues we can pursue such as gangland hand signals and people that do sign language for the deaf,” Mrs. Bird added.