American verdict: gruyère is a type of cheese, not the trade name of the Swiss manufacturer

The Gruyère brand will henceforth refer to a type of cheese in the United States, and not to a special product of a Swiss dairy company. A US court has rejected a measure to protect the trade name of a European food company.

“When people say Gruyère is a type of cheese, they’re wrong. If you look around an American grocery store, you won’t find Gruyère on every shelf. There are some cheeses called that, but it’s not at all common,” explained Philippe Bardet, director of Gruyère Interprofession.

However, the US court ruling states that the cheese name is not the exclusive trade name of the Swiss company, so it may be legally used by another manufacturer as the name of its product in the future.

“It’s a different perception here. We think Gruyère is the name of a specific protected product, while the Americans say it’s more of a brand. In this case, there was a disturbance in the assessment of the situation itself,” noted Fleury Marion, spokesperson for the Federal Office of Agriculture in Bern.

The court ruling opens the door for cheese makers in the United States, as many large companies in the United States already produce or distribute this privately fermented cheese.

Thanks to the Covid epidemic, production has stagnated for the past two years in both America and Hungary. “But we’ve been exporting to America in record quantities for two years before, so conscious American consumers want the real Gruyère,” said Philip Bardet, CEO.

The Swiss company launched patent proceedings in the United States in 2013 to protect the brand name. However, his application was successfully challenged by the US Dairy Export Council.

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