Cheesemakers refused trademark for ‘emmentaler’ by EU court

Another cheesy TM situation..

Global Legal Post Report

Cheesemaker group Emmentaler Switzerland has failed to trademark the word  ‘emmentaler’ at the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The General Court in Emmentaler Switzerland v. EUIPO found that the ‘mark applied for is descriptive of a type of cheese for the relevant German public and is not perceived as an indication of the geographical origin of that cheese’, the general court therefore concluded that it did not enjoy protection as a collective mark. A collective mark is a specific type of trademark which indicates that the goods or services bearing the mark originate from members of a trade association, rather than just one trader.

Cheesemakers Emmentaler Switzerland had obtained from the World Intellectual Property Organization the international registration of the word sign EMMENTALER for goods corresponding to the description “cheeses with the protected designation of origin ‘emmentaler’”.

Emmentaler (or Emmental cheese) is a medium-hard cheese originating in the area around Emmental, Switzerland.

That international registration was notified to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), but the examiner rejected the application for the EU trademark registration. Emmentaler Switzerland lodged an appeal, which was subsequently dismissed by the Second Board of Appeal of EUIPO, on the ground that the mark applied for was descriptive.