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Anastasiades gives halloumi producers ultimatum

President Nicos Anastasiades has given halloumi producers and cow farmers an ultimatum, saying they need to fall in line with the legal service’s standards for the cheese’s production otherwise the state would increase regulations on exports, reports said on Saturday.

Daily Politis reported that the meeting was held on Friday between the president, the PanCyprian Society of Cow Farmers (Poa), the commerce and agriculture ministers and a representative from the Attorney General’s office.

In January it was reported that Cyprus may have definitively lost the trademark for halloumi in the UK after a British court refused to consider a last-ditch appeal filed by Cypriot authorities.

On January 22 the UK’s High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts (Chancery Division) deemed inadmissible an appeal filed by the Cypriot government which tried to reverse a previous ruling.

The litigants were informed of the decision last Friday.

On December 19 the ministry of commerce filed an appeal against the court’s November 28 decision, which ruled against an objection by Cyprus against the cancellation of its halloumi trademark in the UK.

The trademark had earlier been revoked by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (Ukipo).

At Friday’s meeting, Anastasiades is reported to have told exporters of the cheese to fall in line so as to not lose the European trademark of halloumi, otherwise the government would place tighter control on exports.

Previously, the attorney general assured that the trademark would not be lost this time due to the quick action of the state. However, the daily reported that the president did now want to leave halloumi’s fate to chance, leading him to call the meeting to make sure the producers were careful.

According to the daily, the meeting on Friday was held in a good climate. One of the companies presumed to be involved with the cheese’s UK trademark revocation, is reported to have assured the president they would work to have the objections withdrawn.

Cyprus had applied to register the trademark on December 22, 1990 and it was registered on February 22, 2002 as “Cheese made from sheep’s and/or goat’s milk; cheese made from blends of cow’s milk.”

On December 22, 2017 a British-based company, John & Pascalis Ltd, filed three separate applications to invalidate or revoke the trademark.

The subsequent loss of the trademark was due to the government’s failure to mount a challenge and dispatch the necessary paperwork within the set deadline. A disciplinary probe is underway within the commerce ministry to determine whether officials were derelict in their duties.

Following the latest development in the UK court, the government’s last option is filing for a new trademark for halloumi with Ukipo.

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