Tuesday, 11 January 2022 15:43

Gruyere Cheese Can Still Be Branded as “Gruyere,” Even if it Does Not Originate From Switzerland

Written by 

An association of several Swiss and French business owners previously filed a trademark application seeking protection for the name “GRUYERE” in relation to cheese.  According to the association, gruyere is “painstakingly made from local, natural ingredients using traditional methods that assure the connection between the geographic region and the quality and characteristics of the final product.”  Against their arguments, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board denied the application.  On appeal at the federal district court level, the court similarly ruled that gruyere-branded cheese  does not have to originate from the Gruyere region of Europe.  The opposition in the district court case argued that gruyere had become generic, and that consumers believed that it applied to a certain type of cheese as opposed to the location where that cheese originated.  U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis agreed, finding that “the term GRUYERE may have in the past referred exclusively to cheese from Switzerland and France,” but that “decades of importation, production, and sale of cheese labeled GRUYERE produced outside the Gruyère region of Switzerland and France have eroded the meaning of that term and rendered it generic.”

Read 79 times
Jonathan Woodard

Mr. Woodard represents clients in Intellectual Property Litigation.  He also has International Law experience, having clerked for the General Counsel of the International Fund in Rome, Italy. Mr. Woodard obtained his law degree, cum laude, from Florida A&M College of Law, where he served as an editor on the law review.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from King College as a recipient of a full academic/athletic scholarship as member of the varsity basketball team.