Mars fails in Bounty trademark bid

Posted by Isobel Drake on 10th July 2009

The Bounty confection is just another chocolate bar, according to European judges who dismissed a bid by Mars to register the shape of the bar as a trademark.”The allegedly distinctive characteristics, namely the rounded ends of the bar and the three arrows or chevrons on top of it, cannot be sufficiently distinguished from other shapes commonly used for chocolate bars,” the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg explained.

“(Bounty is) devoid of any distinctive character and Mars has not proved that the shape has acquired distinctive character through use in the entire Community,” the judgment declared.

Europe’s trademark office had initially given approval to Mars in 2003 to register the Bounty’s shape as a trademark across Europe, but a German chocolate maker who challenged the ruling has now been vindicated.

Mars was disappointed with the decision, concerned about protecting “key brand elements” to ensure “others do not unfairly trade off the goodwill created in (their) brands.”