File image of a kitkat chocolate bar. Picture: Andy Culpin/ Free Images

 London - The makers of the KitKat chocolate bar cannot register its four-finger design as a trademark, a High Court judge has ruled.

Nestlé was hoping to stop other confectioners from producing similar-shaped bars but rival chocolatier Cadbury objected.

Justice Arnold considered the issues relating to the “distinctive character” of the “three-dimensional shape” at a High Court hearing in London earlier this month and ruled against Nestlé yesterday.

The judge began deliberating on the dispute in 2014 - but had a break to allow judges in Europe to consider legal issues.

Cadbury bosses said they were pleased with the ruling but Nestlé said it was disappointed and intended to appeal.