Alicante-based law firm secures victory for “Torta del Casar” before EUIPO

Berenguer & Pomares, an IP-specialised law firm headquartered in Alicante, has secured a victory representing the Torta del Casar Regulatory Council before the EUIPO against “Queso de la Serena” Regulatory Council, represented by Garrigues

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has ruled that the term “torta”, in relation to cheeses, is exclusive to Torta del Casar, and thus agrees with the Control Board in a lawsuit initiated in 2012, which the General Court of the European Union forced to review in a ruling in December 2017.

Although the EUIPO initially registered the trademark “Queso y Torta de la Serena”, considering that the term “torta” simply designates the rounded and flattened shape of a cheese, it has finally established that the appeal filed by the Torta del Casar Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) should be admitted in its entirety, thus refusing in all its terms the registration of the trademark applied for.

In the review of the entire process ordered by the General Court, which together with the Court of Justice of the EU are the highest interpreters of the Regulations of the European Union, the expert report commissioned by the EUIPO to Ángel Martínez Gutiérrez, Commercial Law professor at the Universidad de Jaén, was decisive, indicating in his conclusions that “the term ‘torta’ is not generic in nature in relation to cheeses.” “On the contrary, confirming our initial working hypothesis, this term would have a greater significance, as it refers to the typical shape of a cheese from the region of El Casar,” the professor added.

The Regulatory Council, according to statements by its president, Ángel Pacheco: “Has been immersed for years in a legal battle that many told us was useless, that it was lost beforehand.. “It is now over, it has been won, and from now on nobody outside the PDO should use or try to register ‘torta’ to market cheeses,” the president stressed.

Currently, Torta del Casar has a new case of a trademark registration application for cheese, “Torta Cana”, which Pacheco hopes “will be short-lived, since as soon as it was detected, it has been challenged by providing this European ruling as the main document.”

For his part, the Council’s director, Javier Muñoz, indicated that: “The resolution is categorical, ‘Torta’ is a traditional designation linked to the Torta del Casar PDO, and has not become a generic term, so it is protected by European Union legislation against commercial uses in cheeses.” However, the Regulatory Council is going to promote all those processes that “are necessary to speed up the application of the resolution”, Muñoz pointed out. “This has been a long and very expensive process, and now it is time to make the work carried out, which has shown that there is only one Torta cheese, the Torta del Casar,” concluded the director.

The Regulatory Council hopes that this European ruling, which is now final, will encourage the competent authorities to eliminate the indiscriminate use of the word “torta” in cheeses, thus enforcing a ruling that preserves the Protected Designation of Origin “Torta del Casar”, an intangible asset in the public domain as defined by Extremadura legislation.

Berenguer & Pomares is a law firm founded in January 2005 by highly experienced professionals in the field of Commercial Law and, in particular, in the Intellectual Property, Competition Law and Information and Communication Technologies Law practice areas. The Berenguer & Pomares´ team representing Torta del Casar Regulatory Council was led by partner Aitor Pomares (pictured).

“Queso de la Serena” PDO Regulatory Council was represented by Garrigues.


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