Is cheese close to restaurant services?

The protective Foundation for Halloumi Cheese won an interesting lawsuit before the General Court of the European Union.

The case T‑555/19 concerns an application for European trademark for GRILLOUMI filed by the Swedish company Fontana Food AB in class 43 – services for providing food and drink; coffee shop services; restaurants.

The Foundation filed an opposition based on an earlier collective European trademark for Halloumi  in class 29 – cheese.

The EUIPO dismissed the opposition. Although the Office acknowledged that it is possible the goods from class 29 to be complementary to the services in class 43, this wasn’t proved for cheese in particular.

The Court disagreed and annulled this decision. According to the-case law goods and services may be complementary if they share close connection, that is to say one is indispensable or important for the use of the other.

According to the court:

As is apparent from the case-law of the Court, it must be stated that the goods in Class 29, inter alia, cheese, are necessarily used in the serving of food and drink, with the result that those goods and those services are complementary. First, cheese may be offered to the clientele of many restaurants, or even of coffee shops, by being incorporated as an ingredient in dishes that are intended to be sold on the premises or to be taken away. Secondly, cheese, without being processed as an ingredient, may be sold as it is to consumers, in particular in restaurants in which the activity is not confined to the preparation and serving of cooked dishes, but also consists of selling food which is intended to be consumed away from the place in which it is sold. Such goods are therefore used in
and offered by means of services for providing food and drink, restaurant services or coffee-shop services. Those goods are consequently closely connected with those services.

Based on this the Court found cheese as a complementary good to the above mentioned services in class 43.

Source:  Meyer-Dulheuer MD Legal Patentanwälte PartG mbB

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