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European court to rule on halloumi imitators on Wednesday

halloumi1
File photo

The General Court of the EU (CJEU) is on Wednesday set to announce a decision regarding two appeals submitted by the Foundation for the Protection of the Traditional Cheese of Cyprus named Halloumi against the use of the ‘BBQloumi’ and ‘Grilloumi’ trademarks by companies in Bulgaria and Sweden.

The appeals were filed against the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the two companies on February 24 and March 30, 2022 by the foundation, which was created in 2013 by the Cyprus Dairy Industry Organisation to protect halloumi from imitation abroad.

In January 2021, the CJEU ruled that there was no likelihood of confusion between the collective mark ‘halloumi’ reserved for the members of a Cypriot association, and ‘BBQloumi’.

In December of the same year, Cyprus suffered another blow, as the CJEU ejected two appeals filed by the foundation against the EUIPO regarding the registration of the trade mark ‘Grilloumi’ by a Swedish company, ruling once again that similarities with the halloumi trademark did not cause confusion.

However, in a separate action brought by Cyprus against the EUIPO in relation to the same issue, the CJEU ruled that confusion as to the origin of the product cannot be ruled out when it is used in food and drink services, coffeeshops and restaurants.

The CJEU said all three cases focus on an application for registration of an EU trade mark filed at the EUIPO by the Swedish company Fontana Food AB on October 25, 2016 concerning the name ‘Grilloumi’.

As a result, the Foundation appealed against the CJEU decision on February 24, 2022.

The appeal concerning the Bulgarian ‘BBQloumi’ cheese was filed on March 30, 2022.

 

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