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In court Parma Ham wins across the board

Three judicial sentences in favor of the Consortium strengthen the protection of the Dop

The Parma Ham Consortium records important results in the protection of the PDO and its denomination, thanks to the positive results obtained a few months later in the context of three legal proceedings that took place in Italy and Germany. "Defending the intellectual property represented by the PDO Prosciutto di Parma - reads a note from the Consortium - above all from the improper use and evocation of the denomination with the aim of bringing commercial advantages to products that are not Prosciutto di Parma, is a task that the guardianship body carries out constantly, both nationally and abroad, where the prestige enjoyed by the Geographical Indications of our country frequently leads to speculative activities of exploitation of the image".

The disputes concerned various delicatessen products, united by references and elements of allusion to the PDO of Parma. The first dispute, largely developed on German soil, was linked to the use of the denomination "Culatello di Parma", applied by a company located in the province of Parma to a cured meat sold in some EU countries. The dispute reached, through a complex process, the highest levels of judgment of the German Courts, with sentences favorable to the Consortium and therefore to the protection of the PDO in all levels of judgment, up to the Federal Court of Justice of the Federal Republic of Germany, which corresponds to our Supreme Court. The principle sanctioned by the German judges, in line with those defined by the EU Court of Justice in similar cases, is that "Culatello di Parma" illegitimately exploits the notoriety of the PDO, with the inclusion of the toponym "Parma" in its name, and tries to get a commercial advantage from it, through the allusion to the Prosciutto di Parma denomination for a good that belongs to the same product category.

The events that developed in Italy also dealt with phenomena of evocation. In this case, it all started with the seizure, carried out by the Carabinieri Command for the protection of agri-food products in Parma, of a large number of packages of bacon and salami, which bore a brand name and a denomination containing the word "Parma" on the label. The release from seizure of the products had been granted by the Central Inspectorate for the protection of quality and the repression of fraud of agri-food products (Icqrf) of the Masaf on the condition that any element evocative of Prosciutto di Parma Dop be removed. Having contested the measure, the two manufacturing companies concerned had each filed an appeal with the Lazio Regional Administrative Court, arguing that the indication "Parma" constituted an evocation of the PDO only if it referred to a strictly analogous product. The two recent sentences filed by the Lazio Regional Administrative Court in first instance not only reject the appeals but reaffirm and reinforce what the sentence in Germany had already sanctioned, namely that the evocation also exists between different products of the same reference product category and that the protection of the PDO Prosciutto di Parma does not extend only to the denomination registered as a whole, but also to the geographical element "of Parma" alone, also inhibiting its use even in cases where the headquarters of the manufacturing company are actually located in the territory of the province of Parma.

“The Parma Ham Consortium welcomed with great satisfaction the positive outcomes of the judicial proceedings that took place before the German and Italian courts, which further strengthen the protection of our PDO against the frequent attempts at summoning it has to face. The judicial actions have decisively reaffirmed the identity and distinctiveness of the PDO Prosciutto di Parma and have led to a further strengthening of the protection of the recognized rights which it benefits from”, declared Alessandro Utini , president of the Consortium. For his part, the director of the Consortium Stefano Fanti states: "These historic results represent a fundamental precedent for the protection of all Geographical Indications in the European Union and qualify even more significantly the safeguard operation carried out by the Consortium in constant collaboration with Origin Italia and with the competent national Authorities".

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EFA News - European Food Agency