Halloumi gets Hungarian grilling in UK courts

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Cyprus famous squeaky cheese is in for another bumpy ride in the UK as another battle over a trademark for halloumi is maturing in a London court.

According to Bloomberg, the Foundation for the Protection of the Traditional Cheese of Cyprus is challenging a Hungarian dairy company, Babel Sajt Kft, that has asked to register a trademark named “Hadjú Halloumi”.

A hearing officer in March had ruled in favour of the Hungarians, finding that Halloumi did not have a reputation among a significant portion of the general public and that there weren’t any chances of confusion between the brands.

Babel Sajt argued that the name it uses is clearly different from Cyprus “Halloumi,” as “Hadjú” is written in big letters above “Halloumi.”

The cheese you can grill, produced by Babel Sajt Kft, does not meet the necessary requirements to use the word “Halloumi” in their trademark, the foundation argues.

The Foundation for protecting Cyprus cheese says that “Halloumi” is a collective trademark, and cheesemakers who use it must meet specific criteria regarding ingredients, provenance, and manufacturing.

The soft white cheese often enjoyed grilled, is the second biggest Cypriot export generating some €200 mln a year.

The UK is Cyprus’ largest market for the popular squeaky cheese, absorbing 40% of halloumi exports worth around €80 mln a year.

Cyprus dairy producers have said they expect to yield €300 mln in exports from halloumi by 2023.

Nicosia has lost and regained its UK trademark for halloumi and is determined to fend-off pretenders to the crown.