Cyprus has won back the halloumi trademark in the UK, more than 18 months after it lost it because of a blunder by Commerce Ministry officials.
Commerce Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis confirmed the good news — first reported by Sigma TV last night — telling CyBC that Cyprus had reapplied to register the trade mark which it lost in May 2018. On January 31, it was notified that halloumi had been registered by the British Intellectual Property Office, the minister said.
Cyprus had lost the trademark in its biggest export market when after a blunder by ministry officials it failed to contest an application by a British company John & Pascalis Ltd, to invalidate or revoke the trademark. A UK court ruled in favour of the company because the Cyprus government took more than a reasonable length of time to present its case.
“We corrected that serious mistake” he said.
The development effectively protects Cyprus’ halloumi exports to the UK as protracted efforts continue to register it under the EU’s PDO (protected designation of origin).
Lakkotrypis said that there were ‘legal difficulties’ along the way, adding that the ministry had cooperated with the attorney general’s office to make this possibile.
“This time we are happy to say the result is in our favour,” he said.
The UK is the biggest market for the popular squeaky cheese, absorbing 40 percent of halloumi exports generating around 80 million euros a year. Cyprus expects to yield 300 million euros in exports from halloumi by 2023.
A diciplinary investigation regarding the blunder in 2018 has been completed and the findings referred to the attorney general’s office, he added.
A meeting meanwhile is scheduled at the Presidential palace on Wednesday chaired by President Anastasiades to discuss the halloumi.