Give me a break – no, really: Google, Nestle make cute with ‘Kit Kat’ trademark

September 6, 2013

Android KitkatGoogle has a habit of naming new versions of its Android software after some kind of treat, like Jelly Bean.

(Personally, I like Apple’s plan of naming new versions of its Mac software after big cats. I mean, Snow Leopard? Come on, that’s pretty cool.)

Usually, Google picks a generic term, such as marshmallow or donut. This time, Android 4.4 will be named Kit Kat. “Kit Kat,” of course, is a trademark held by Nestle.

When I first heard the new name, I was puzzled. Nestle is quite vigorous when it comes to trying to provide legal protection for its Kit Kat brand, so I wondered how Google could commit such a big blunder and set itself up for what might be a pretty epic trademark showdown.

Of course, it was silly of me to think that two giant companies did not see the potential trouble with this name.

Naturally, they did and found a way to monetize it. (Hey, you don’t get to be their size by ignoring these opportunities, I guess.)

To mark the launch, which will certainly earn it quite a bit of publicity, Nestle will be making special Kit Kat bars that resemble Android’s robot mascot. Those bars will feature the Android branding on the wrapper as well. Both Google and Nestle have insisted that no money changed hands here and have tried to sell the agreement as fun, fun, fun gentleman’s agreement. All in all, it seems like an example of cross-brand synergy that marketing professors will bore freshman with for years to come.