How the Trade­mark was lost

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - COMMENT -

there is a dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into who’s re­spon­si­ble. The find­ings will also be for­warded to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral for the ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion,” said the Min­istry.

The min­istry is con­sid­er­ing le­gal ac­tion, a dif­fi­cult task as the de­ci­sion on 28 Novem­ber re­garded an ap­peal by the min­istry, with the court rul­ing that Cyprus was too late in pre­sent­ing the file that had been re­quested four times.

How­ever, the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties do not seem par­tic­u­larly alarmed as they be­lieve that the Euro­pean Trade­mark of Hal­loumi reg­is­tered to Cyprus will suf­fice to go after any pri­vate non-Cypriot firm which is not reg­is­tered and is pro­duc­ing Hal­loumi.

“Of course, the loss of the trade­mark in the UK is a neg­a­tive de­vel­op­ment, but that does not change the fact that no one can pro­duce Hal­loumi out­side Cyprus and with­out con­form­ing to the pro­to­type, “said Nelli Kou­lia, head of the Min­istry’s trade depart­ment.

She said that the EU Trade­mark al­lows Cyprus to go after rogue Hal­loumi pro­duc­ers “with all our le­gal weapons”.

She added that the Min­istry is not wor­ried about com­pli­ca­tions that may arise be­cause of Brexit.

The Min­istry says there is a spe­cial clause in the with­drawal agree­ment be­tween Bri­tain and the Euro­pean Union which states that Hal­loumi’s Euro­pean Trade­mark is to au­to­mat­i­cally be adopted by Bri­tain as a lo­cal trade­mark. But the with­drawal agree­ment is sub­ject to the ap­proval of the Bri­tish par­lia­ment.

Events started un­fold­ing in late De­cem­ber 2017, when John & Pas­calis Ltd made three sep­a­rate claims to courts in Bri­tain to can­cel or with­draw the trade­mark vested to Cyprus. Bri­tain’s IPO (In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Of­fice) in­formed the Min­istry of Com­merce that the rel­e­vant ap­pli­ca­tions had been sub­mit­ted, while in a let­ter sent to the Min­istry dated 26 Jan­uary 2018, ex­plained that the min­istry had two months to re­ply to the com­pany’s claims.

The IPO had made it clear that if a re­ply is not filed within the given time limit, the trade­mark would be de­clared in­valid. The ev­i­dence from the min­istry shows that the let­ter was re­ceived by the min­istry on 9 Fe­bru­ary and of­fi­cials were in­structed to send the let­ter to the Le­gal Ser­vice. This was never done, so no re­ply was sub­mit­ted to the Bri­tish courts.

An­other let­ter fol­lowed on 5 April 2018, ex­plain­ing that with­out a re­ply, the award of the trade­mark would be con­sid­ered void.

Any dis­agree­ments should also be given in writ­ing and a hear­ing should have been re­quested be­fore 19 April. The min­istry re­ceived the let­ter on April 26th and was for­warded to the com­pe­tent of­fice on 9 May.

As no re­ply was sub­mit­ted, the trade­mark regis­tra­tion was de­clared void and a dele­tion was re­quested from the reg­istry. Fol­low­ing the de­vel­op­ments, the Min­istry filed an ap­peal on 30 May for the an­nul­ment of the de­ci­sion and ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion was pro­vided on 18 July for the non-com­ple­tion of the re­ply.

De­spite the sub­mis­sion of the ap­peal and ex­pla­na­tions pro­vided, the IPO’s lawyers presented many ex­am­ples of com­pa­nies that lost sim­i­lar cases due to bad han­dling, lead­ing the court to re­ject the ap­pli­ca­tion and Cyprus los­ing its Hal­loumi trade­mark in the UK.

Some of the hal­loumi brands dis­trib­uted by John & Pas­cali in the UK

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