Parmigiano-Reggiano: appeal by German company turned down

Good news for the Consortium from the Court of Berlin: the word "Parmesan" is not generic, but recalls the PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano

Reggio Emilia, 4 August 2010  -  The series of favourable judgements for the Consortium continues all over Europe to protect Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
After the “Parmeso” and "Parmetta" cases, the Court of Appeal of Berlin turned down the appeal filed by the Allgäuland-Käsereien GMBH Company against the Court of Berlin’s judgement of 22 April 2008, which, following a legal action taken by the Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium, prohibited the German company to manufacture, advertise, sell or place on the market cheese called “Parmigiano”, “Bio-Parmesan” or “Parmesan” if not conforming with the production regulation of PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano.

No Parmesan

"The most significant aspect – underlines the Consortium’s Director, Leo Bertozzi, who followed the case along with the Law Firm “GB Avvocati” from Reggio Emilia and its German counterpart -
is that the Court of Appeal has rejected once more the German company’s argument maintaining that the denomination ‘Parmesan’ is a generic name by pointing out, instead, that it is a designation protected by Community legislation on Protected Designations of Origin of agri-food products, since it recalls the PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano, as established by the European Court of Justice in the well-known judgement of 26 February 2008”. 

“The significance of that judgement – continues Bertozzi was underestimated by many, but we considered it a key reference point to increase the effectiveness of the activities undertaken to protect our product: the results achieved in recent months reconfirm that certainty, and the purpose, although difficult, is to reach an agreement within the WTO to extend the protection of the designation to non-EU countries that are strategic for our exports and where there are cheeses imitating and recalling Parmigiano-Reggiano”.

“Ignoring the arguments of the German company – explains the Consortium’s Director – the Berlin Court of Appeal also has declared that it considers the Consortium fully entitled to defend the PDO Parmigiano-Reggiano before jurisdictional bodies and it also underlines that it is proven and unquestionable that the association of Parmigiano-Reggiano producers takes action every time it detects behaviours on the market that may harm the Protected Designation of Origin subject to its safeguard”.

“The decision - Bertozzi concludes – seems to be particularly interesting not only because the Court has reasserted the wide protection granted to PDOs according to Regulation EC 510/06, but also because it has underlined that, in implementing Community legislation on PDOs and PGIs, one should always consider that one of its main objectives is protecting consumers, being, as the Court specifies, European Union consumers”.

The German Company is therefore left with the possibility of appealing to the German Supreme Court, as long as this is admissible.