Nestle faces setback in KitKat trademark battle

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Confectionery giant Nestle’s attempt to trademark the shape of its four-finger KitKat bar in the UK does not comply with European law, a senior European Court lawyer has said.

The opinion of the advocate-general effectively ends Nestle’s attempts to trademark the snack.

It also brings to an end the latest chapter in the internecine chocolate wars between Nestle and Cadbury.

The High Court had already rejected Nestle’s trademark application in 2013.

Advocate-general opinions are usually, although not always, followed by the European Court judges.

Had its application been successful, Nestle would have been able to prevent competitors making rival chocolate bars of the same shape and size.

But Nestle faced significant opposition to is trademark application from bitter rival Cadbury’s and its US owner, Mondelez International. Continue reading “Nestle faces setback in KitKat trademark battle”

HSBC chiefs face Margaret Hodge at her most merciless

It was Stuart Gulliver’s bad luck to be summoned before the Treasury committee last week. Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, doesn’t take kindly to being upstaged by other committees and clearly felt that she should have had first dibs at the HSBC chief executive. It was doubly bad luck for Gulliver that this could well be Hodge’s last committee as chair; if Labour have a majority at the next election, the Tories will insist on a Conservative chair. Even at her gentlest, Hodge is a ferocious interrogator; when she’s facing her swansong in front of a large audience that included the Argentine ambassador, she is merciless. Continue reading “HSBC chiefs face Margaret Hodge at her most merciless”

How one man turns annoying cold calls into cash

A man targeted by marketing companies is making money from cold calls with his own higher-rate phone number. In November 2011 Lee Beaumont paid £10 plus VAT to set up his personal 0871 line – so to call him now costs 10p, from which he receives 7p. The Leeds businessman told BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme that the line had so far made £300. Continue reading “How one man turns annoying cold calls into cash”

UK consumers set to ‘loosen their belts’ this year

UK consumers are set to “loosen their belts” this year, according to a leading economic forecaster.

In its latest report, Ernst & Young’s Item Club predicts a recovery in consumer confidence. Increases in personal tax allowances and a recovery in the housing market are expected to boost consumer spending. Consumer spending is set to grow by 1.2% this year before rising to 1.9% in 2014, according to the report. Continue reading “UK consumers set to ‘loosen their belts’ this year”

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