The Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Consortium has announced its partnership with brand protection service NetNames to combat trademark infringements.
Under the agreement, NetNames will be monitoring to detect counterfeit Parmigiano-Reggiano products for sale online and removing websites using domain names containing the Parmigiano-Reggiano trademark.
Under European law, only cheese produced in specific provinces complying with strict specifications may be named Parmigiano-Reggiano, and since 1996 Parmigiano-Reggiano has been a protected designation of origin (PDO). In addition, the European Court of Justice ruled in 2008 that the name Parmesan is also protected.
Outside the EU, the name Parmesan is used for cheeses similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano because it is considered generic, but the name Parmigiano-Reggiano is unambiguously protected. While the denomination is protected throughout the EU, it is not effectively protected outside. This is especially apparent in the US, the largest market outside the EU, with exports of $150m a year.
Riccardo Deserti, director at Parmigiano-Reggiano, said: "Today, the internet is one of the main channels our product is marketed and sold through. The consortium decided to engage in this important partnership with NetNames in order to execute a significantly more targeted defence and surveillance of our name against infringements on the main online marketplace sites. We hope that from this agreement we can protect our dairies and consumers against counterfeiting, and therefore protect the reputation and integrity of our unique product."
Jim Evans, general manager of NetNames northern Europe, added: "Our specialist technology and expert analysts have the knowledge to identify the areas in which intellectual property rights are enforceable. This expertise will allow us to protect Parmigiano-Reggiano's trademark against infringements in the most proactive and effective ways possible."
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