Sanctions for breach of Council Regulation 2081/92 outlined

Italy

Legislative Decree 297 of November 19 2004, which specifies the sanctions for infringing Council Regulation 2081/92 on the protection of geographical indications (GIs) and denominations of origin (DOs) for agricultural products and foodstuffs, has come into force.

Under the decree GIs, DOs and registered signs are protected against both their direct and indirect use in commerce where the use is (i) without the required authorization, or (ii) aimed at misleading consumers as to the origin and quality of the products. The level of sanctions imposed depends on the nature of the unauthorized act. The decree indicates that such acts include:

  • the unlawful adoption of protected GIs and DOs for the trade of products of the same kind as those bearing authorized GIs and DOs;

  • the use of protected GIs and DOs for products of a different kind, where this use is aimed at taking undue advantage of the goodwill and reputation of the protected sign; and

  • the unauthorized reference to a protected DO on either (i) a product's label, or (ii) the promotional and advertising material of elaborated, transformed or mixed products.

Further, the decree provides for sanctions against any unauthorized modification, for commercial purposes, of a GI, DO or sign registered according to the regulation, as well as against any use of misleading information concerning the origin and the quality of the products.

Finally, the decree sets forth the sanctions that apply to authorities that verify production standards and consortia that protect DOs and GIs in the event that they fail to comply with their monitoring and controlling activities.

Margherita Barié and Pietro Pouchè, McDermott Will & Emery/Carnelutti Studio Legale Associato, Milan

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