Cypriot farmers have recently won back the exclusive right to sell their cheese products as ‘Halloumi’ in the UK after re-securing the trademark it lost in 2018.
Participating on the part of these farmers, the Cypriot ministry first obtained Trademark Protection for ‘Halloumi’ from the UK Intellectual Property Office in 1990. However, in association with a legal challenge brought by the UK-based cheese producers, the trademark had been revoked in the year 2018. The verdict was a result of an administrative error as the Cypriot ministry failed to respond to the legal requests within the asked time frame. Nevertheless, now the ministry has secured the protection again.
According to a Patent and Trademark Attorney, this significant win for the Cypriot farmers means that they have regained an exclusive right to use the mark ‘Halloumi’ while selling their cheese product in the UK. Because of the growing market for this product in the UK, this is expected to prove profitable for them. However, the farmers are unlikely to limit themselves there. They have already filed a Trademark Application for achieving ‘protected food name’ status to the European Commission, and if successful, their application would bring permanent protection. But as it’s likely to take some time, trademark protection in the UK will be beneficial to them in the meantime.
The attorney said that the food and drink producers in the UK might not be aware that they are allowed to apply for ‘protected food name’ status to secure protection for products with unique characteristics that can be linked to a specific geographical location or specified product. The attorney continued that this Trademark Registration certification would affect those who are producing cheese products. It is so because they could not label the product as ‘Halloumi’ unless it meets the certification mark requirements. Hence, restaurants should take care of not to define something as ‘Halloumi’ wrongly.
The attorney further added that if there’s no food name protection in place, and the misuse isn’t spotted as soon as possible, the use of the name or product could become generic. As a consequence, it would lose its eligibility for protected status. For example – ‘Cheddar’ is a name that has now become generic, and thus, no longer capable of obtaining such protection.
The Protected Food Name scheme, which was established by the UK government in 1993, is helpful for producers who want to use a geographical place name as part of their product’s brand identity for preventing others from marketing their items under the same name.
Since a large number of products have achieved the ‘protected food name’ status, there is no reason why Halloumi producers should not look for the same. Still, the application by these producers has been affected by many delays. Nonetheless, now it has gained the approval, meaning that the producers have re-secured ‘Halloumi’ trademark protection in the UK. ✅ For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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