The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has determined that “gruyere” is a generic name for the type of cheese and cannot be registered as a certification mark. Int’l Dairy Foods Assn. v. Interprofession du Gruyère & Syndicat Interprofessionel du Gruyère, No. 91232427 (T.T.A.B., entered August 5, 2020). Swiss and French associations attempted to register the mark and limit its use to cheese originating from the Swiss and French region of Gruyère, but several organizations filed notices of opposition, arguing that the term is generic. TTAB agreed, finding that a large number of cheese products sold in the United States as gruyere are produced outside of the Gruyère region, and consumer understanding of the term is not tied to a specific area. Accordingly, TTAB sustained the oppositions on the grounds that “gruyere” is generic.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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