Laws & Labels

EU Condemns the ‘Evocation’ of PDO Food Products

The European Court of Justice put a stop to the use of misleading geographical symbols, in order to enhance European consumers' protection

Symbols and images referring to the origin of a PDO food product may constitute an illegal evocation of the brand”. Some days ago the European Court of Justice ruled in this way in the case opposing the Spanish cheese Queso Manchego PDO’s producers to a company that used typical symbols of La Mancha territory on the pack of a non-PDO product. This ruling offers 270 Italian protection Consortia – representing 863 Geographical Indications with a production value of more than 15.2 billion euros and 197,000 operators employed – another great opportunity to continue the challenge of international protection for which many efforts have been made over the years.


Now, there will be open war in the European courts against numerous and substantial evocations and counterfeiting of Grana Padano PDO” said Stefano Berni, Director General of the Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano. The Consortium was awaiting the outcome of this dispute on an issue that had long been affecting the most widely consumed PDO cheese in the world, with a production of 4,932,996 cheese wheels in 2019 and record exports of 1,938,328 wheels.


According to the Grana Padano Consortium’s top management, the Court established important principles regarding the evocation of a PDO product, which is the main expedient used in the names of counterfeit products, clarifying the geographical references and introducing the concept of European consumer. The evocation can be recognized even in the case of the use of figurative signs capable of recalling PDO products in the mind of the consumer, without therefore requiring a similarity between the name of the generic product and that of the PDO one.

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