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Business News/ News / Don’t move my Halloumi: Cyprus wins trademark case against Indian firm
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Don’t move my Halloumi: Cyprus wins trademark case against Indian firm

An Ahmedabad-based food processing consultancy had applied to register a figurative trademark containing the expression ‘Halloumi’, a distinctive Cypriot cheese

Halloumi is a distinctive variety of cheese produced in Cyprus. (Image source: Official website)Premium
Halloumi is a distinctive variety of cheese produced in Cyprus. (Image source: Official website)

NEW DELHI : Halloumi, the globally renowned, distinctive variety of cheese produced in Cyprus, had the country’s government saying there’s no moving their cheese. Cyprus successfully restrained an Indian entity from getting Halloumi registered as a trademark in India.

The government of Cyprus objected to Ahmedabad-based Flavi Dairy Solutions’ application to register a figurative trademark containing the expression ‘Halloumi’. The application was potentially related to a consultancy service to develop technology and recipe formulation to produce cheese for its clients. Flavi is a dairy and food processing consultancy firm.

Countries have always backed their ‘original’ trademarks. In 2006, Canada sued Molson Coors over the use of the word “Canadian" on a line of beers. In 2007, the Australian government sued the EU over the use of the word “feta" on cheese products. And in 2009, India sued RiceTec over the use of the word “basmati" on a line of rice products.

Halloumi is a trademark owned by the government of Cyprus and pertains to Cypriot cheese with some unique characteristics.

Flavi had initiated the process of registration of ‘Halloumi’ in December 2021. The Cyprus government swung into action in May 2022. The Ministry of Energy, Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Cyprus, responsible for “protection" of the cheese and its trademark, filed an opposition before the Trade Marks Registry, Ahmedabad.

“It is a documented fact that intangibles like trademarks are in focus and becoming ‘wealth’ or ‘value’ creators. Today, intangible assets have an over 90% share in market valuations around the world," said Safir Anand, Senior Partner, Anand and Anand, the law firm that fought the case for the Cyprus government.

“This is all the more reason why trademarks should be protected, monitored, enforced and commercialised," he said.

Though Halloumi is not a registered trademark in India, the Cyprus government in its opposition relied on its well-known nature and distinctiveness of the trademark as well as the inextricable association of the mark with Cyprus.

Finally, a year and a half after the application was filed, the Indian entity did not contest the opposition, and abandoned the application for the trademark. The office of the Trade Marks Registry, as on 20 November 2023, passed an order treating the application as abandoned.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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Published: 26 Nov 2023, 08:05 PM IST
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