The Consortium for the promotion of Piadina Romagnola PGI has won its legal battle in Canada. From now on, no one will be allowed to register the trademark “La Piadina” as it will be considered a counterfeit. Above all, it is an important legal precedent for the entire world of Italian PDOs and PGIs, whose legal protection is guaranteed only within the borders of the European Union. Unless free trade treaties provide otherwise, geographical indications are in fact not a registered trademark outside the EU, but a simple commercial brand.
The free trade agreement between the EU and Canada is not among those that provide for the protection of products with geographical indications. That is why, in July last year, the Piadina Romagnola protection Consortium mandated its law firm in Rimini to proceed with the registration of the trademark at the Canadian Industrial Property Office.
THE LEGAL BATTLE FOR REAL PIADINA
“At that time we realized that a Canadian company, which already produced sandwiches, had applied to register an unidentified Italian style product with the words ‘La Piadina’,” says the president of Consortium Alfio Biagini. If the local company’s trademark had been registered, the word ‘piadina’ in Canada would have been the exclusive prerogative of the applicant company.
Considering that several companies from Romagna are already exporting piadina in Canada – including Piadina Romagnola PGI – there would have been a paradox: Italians, inventors of the recipe and respectful of the specification, would have had serious difficulties in marketing the product. Thus, on 14 December 2018 the Consortium filed an application for opposition. A few days ago the Canadian Industrial Property Office accepted the application and annulled the application for registration of the trademark ‘La Piadina’.
A PATH FOR THE PROTECTION OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS IN CANADA
“Moreover – says Biagini – Canadian authorities have realized the importance of protecting PGIs within the national market, as they have understood that this is the only way to guarantee their consumers a truly high-quality product. So, they said they are willing to start a path that will lead to the formal protection of all European Geographical Indications sooner or later. This is good news for all Made in Italy food products that are being exported to Canada.”