Thanks to the formal opposition of the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium responsible for the worldwide protection of the PDO protected designation of origin. of Parmesan, the Alpina Group’s sixth attempt to register the “Parmesano” trademark in Colombia has now been stopped. With decision no. 12177/2023, the supervisory authority for industry and commerce issued an important order to protect information on the origin of a product in the Latin American country and refused to register the mixed brand “Alpina Parmesano Snack” on the basis of the protected designation of origin. This decision thus confirms the importance of the free trade agreement between the European Union and Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, which has enabled the protection of the protected designation of origin Parmigiano Reggiano to be recognized in the Andean countries.
The Supreme Court thus confirmed the first instance decision and came to the conclusion that the protection of designations of origin is broad enough to ensure that the ground for refusal is not limited to the literal representation of the name, but also includes any kind of imitation, even if it is only hinted at. It therefore found that the trademark applied for, which is claimed for milk, milk products and in particular cheese snacks, contains the word “Parmesano” which is attached to the PDO. Parmigiano Reggiano is remembered and therefore not registrable. In response to Alpina’s arguments, the General Manager stressed that the term “Parmesano” cannot be used generally in commerce to denote any type of cheese, since Article 220 of the Andean Decree 486 of 2000, i.e. the one in force in Colombia and the Andean Community Intellectual property legislation, states that designations of origin are not considered general or generic as long as they are protected in the country of origin.
In addition, the Superintendence determined that the trademark applied for is potentially misleading (Article 135 (i), Andean Decision 486) as, due to Parmigiano Reggiano’s reputation and notoriety in the food market, the inclusion of the word “Parmesano” confuses consumers about the origin and could mislead the characteristics of Alpina’s product. This stopped another attempt to unfairly exploit the excellent reputation, quality and characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano, which can only be produced in its areas of origin Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua on the Po River and Bologna on the Reno River.
In 2008, the European Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that only Parmigiano Reggiano PDO cheese could be used in the European Union. may be sold under the name Parmesan.