Spanish bank Santander has suffered a legal blow in its long-running row with a German rival over the use of the color red.

Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled Thursday that the country's publicly-owned Sparkassen are entitled to keep their trademark for a shade of red called HKS 13.

Santander — which uses the slightly darker HKS 14 — has been trying for six years to get the German Patent and Trademark Office to delete its rivals' trademark.

It initially succeeded, but Germany's top civil court reversed the decision on appeal.

The court accepted the argument that HKS 13 is widely recognized as the signature color of the Sparkassen, which can be found throughout Germany.

It wasn't immediately clear what impact the decision would have for Santander's branding in Germany.