Emmentaler Trademark Application Requires EU Rejection

March 12th, 2018

CCFN has learned that a Swiss GI organization is seeking a trademark in the European Union for the term “emmental/emmentaler”. Emmental or emmentaler is a cheese originally made in Switzerland, but now produced in multiple other countries – including EU members Germany, France, Finland and Austria. According to a German culinary website, for example, Swiss cheesemakers first brought the method for producing emmentaler to Germany’s Bavaria region in 1821; by 1840 “many dairies were able to produce a high-quality Emmentaler.”

The news is particularly alarming because an international standard for the generic name “emmental” already exists under the Codex Alimentarius. In fact, this standard, agreed to by the EU, dates back to 1967. Moreover, when GI status was granted to “Emmental de Savoie” and “Emmental Français Est-Central”; and Protected Designation of Origin status to “Allgaeuer Emmentaler” (the Bavarian cheese pictured above), it was explicitly clarified that both “emmental” and “emmentaler” were not sought for protection, indicating their generic nature.

CCFN has submitted comments in opposition to the trademark application to defend the integrity of the international Codex standard for this term and its long-standing generic status within the EU.