Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI (Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP), like all other European PDO and PGI products, is fully protected from any attempt of evocation. This is what Janusz Wojciechowski, the European Commissioner for Agriculture, wrote in a clear and explicit note to specify the meaning of the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (on 5 December last) about this issue, which left room for uncertain interpretations.
The need for clarification arose after the Court of Justice’s judgment on the protection of the term “balsamic”. The Court’s decision, in fact, limiting itself to providing an extremely formal and concise answer to the question posed by a German judge, created a space of dangerous ambiguity.
The subject of the question was the protection of the individual terms of complex names, to which the EU Community courts responded by stating that the non-geographical terms of the name, taken individually, do not enjoy the same protection as the name as a whole. The fact, however, that the Court did not uphold the known principle of protection against possible cases of imitation or evocation led several commentators to assume that the name did not enjoy any protection.
THE PROTECTION GRANTED TO BALSAMIC VINEGAR OF MODENA
Instead, according to the latest clarifications Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is also one of the products that are protected from those that – using a part of the protected name on the label or in the presentation, as well as words or signs capable of establishing a visual or phonetic similarity or conceptual proximity to the registered name – lead the consumer to assume the protected product as a reference image. It is therefore prohibited to use commercial tricks which, at the time of purchase, might lead the consumer to imagine any kind of reference to this authentic, excellent Italian typical product.