Traditional Cheese Not Entitled to Trademark Protection

This case involved two cheese manufacturers/distributors who both used the mark TRADITIONAL to describe their respective feta cheeses. The company that first used the mark sought to prevent the second company from using it in connection with its feta cheese, claiming that the mark TRADITIONAL was suggestive of the type of cheese–hand made, old word–and entitled to protection. The second company claimed that TRADITIONAL was merely descriptive of the cheese generally–unflavored and natural–and entitled to no protection. After hearing expert testimony, the court found that the mark TRADITIONAL, as applied to feta cheese, was merely descriptive of the cheese and not entitled to protection. Although descriptive marks are sometimes entitled to trademark protection, the court that no be the case.

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