The National Milk Producers Federation, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, and other industry stakeholders prevailed in their battle to protect generic names in the U.S.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld prior court decisions finding the term “gruyere” is a generic term for a type of cheese. The decision should end attempts by Swiss and French groups to take away a common food name through a U.S. certification mark registration. The court said when people enter stores and ask for gruyere, they mean a type of cheese, not a cheese produced in the Gruyere regions of Switzerland and France.
The Fourth Circuit found the evidence of that to be so one-sided that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and opposers must prevail as a matter of law. The decision reinforces that generic terms like “gruyere” refer to types of food, regardless of where it’s produced.