Cypriot farms re-secure trademark protection for ‘Halloumi’

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Cypriot farmers have re-secured an exclusive right to market their cheeses as ‘Halloumi’ in the UK after winning trademark protection.

Acting on behalf of the farmers, the Cypriot ministry first secured trademark protection for ‘Halloumi’ at the UK Intellectual Property Office in 1990.

However, following a legal challenge brought by UK-based cheese producers, the trademark was revoked in 2018. This decision was reached as a result of an administrative error, as the Cypriot ministry failed to respond to legal requests within the required time frame.

With the trademark now back on side, Cypriot farmers once again have the exclusive right to market their cheeses using this description in the UK.

Fiona McBride, partner and trademark attorney at European intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, said the win will “prove lucrative” for Cypriot farmers.

“The farmers are unlikely to stop there, however. They have already applied for ‘protected food name’ status to the European Commission,” she said.

“If successful, their application for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status would bring permanent protection. However, it is likely to take time, so trade mark protection in the UK will be helpful to them in the meantime.”

The Protected Food Name scheme was established in 1993 by the UK Government and groups of producers that want to use a geographical place name as part of their product’s brand identity should consider making an application.

Although the scheme cannot stop a competitor from producing a similar product, it may help to stop them from marketing it under the same name.