IP Blog

Latest firm news

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

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Blog, Trademark | 0 comments

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.”