ECJ: "Parmesian" Infringes PDO for "Parmigiano Reggiano"
As noted by IP Kat Jeremy,
The European Court of Justice rejected the argument that a PDO enjoys protection only in the exact form in which it is registered. It accepted that PDOs could become generic, citing the examples of Camembert and Brie [says the IPKat, that's a big concession: under Article 13(3) of the Regulation, "Protected names may not become generic."], but concluded that Germany had not proved that Parmesan had itself become generic: unauthorised use of the term was thus an infringement. The court nonetheless dismissed the Commission's action.
The key bit of the decision is Article 10(4) of the Regulation. When it provides that,‘[i]f a designated inspection authority and/or private body in a Member State establishes that an agricultural product or a foodstuff bearing a protected name of origin in that Member State does not meet the criteriathis indicates that the designated inspection authority and/or private body in a Member State is that of the Member State from which the PDO comes -- in this case Italy, where Parmesan comes from, or at least ought to come from -- and not Germany itself.
of the specification, they shall take the steps necessary to ensure that
this Regulation is complied with …’,