When U.S. consumers want gruyere cheese, they’re seeking a kind of cheese and not demanding that it was produced in the Alpine regions of France or Switzerland. That’s essentially what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said in a decision today, ruling that gruyere is a generic name that can be used by U.S. cheese makers.

It’s the latest victory for the U.S. dairy industry in its ongoing fight for the use of what it calls common cheese names.

“The Fourth Circuit’s clear decision should put an end to the attempt by Swiss and French consortiums to expropriate a common food name through a U.S. certification mark registration,” the U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation and Consortium for Common Food Names said in a statement Friday.

The French Syndicat Interprofessional du Gruyère and Swiss Interprofession du Gruyère first applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for exclusive rights to use the name Gruyere for their cheeses in the U.S. in 2015.

The appeals court upheld rulings by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"The consortiums cannot overcome what the record makes clear: cheese consumers in the United States understand 'GRUYERE' to refer to a type of cheese, which renders the term generic," the three-judge panel said in its opinion.

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“This is an outstanding result for manufacturers and farmers here in the United States,” said USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden. “We’re grateful that the appeals court agreed that nobody owns the exclusive right to use generic terms. This sets a terrific precedent for the right to use common food names in the United States.”

The legal battle for the use of the name Gruyere is just one small front in the global battle over names for cheese, meat and wine. The European Union continues to negotiate restrictions for food names in free trade agreements with countries and trading blocs around the world.

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said the group “rejects blatant European attempts to unjustly limit competition from American companies and will continue to fight alongside our allies to oppose efforts to monopolize common name foods.”

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