Switzerland. canton Fribourg. Gruyeres. Gruyeres. traditional cheese. (Photo by: Hermes Images/AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
US-Made Cheese Can Now Legally Be Called Gruyère
The region of Gruyère, which lies between Switzerland and France, is home to a cheesemaking tradition that dates back to the year 1115, and both French and Swiss cheesemakers have defended their exclusive right to the name for gruyère cheese. But on March 3, 2023, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office decided that gruyère cheese can be made anywhere.
The three-judge panel in Virginia ruled that American consumers' understanding of gruyère is generic, reflecting a style of cheese rather than an origin. The judges' decision, The Washington Post explains, was founded on evidence that the U.S. imports gruyère from countries other than Switzerland and France, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Tunisia, Egypt, and Italy.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council calls the decision "a huge victory for worldwide producers of 'gruyere.'" However, an attorney for the French and Swiss producers promised to "continue to pursue vigorously our efforts to protect the certification mark for the high-quality Gruyère PDO product in the U.S." according to The Washington Post.