The growing popularity of e-commerce in the agribusiness requires from public authorities a renewed commitment in consumer protection, in particular with respect to the fight against counterfeiting, imitations and evocations of GIs.
In this context, in May 2014, the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Policies (Italian acronym Mipaaf) signed with AICIG (the Italian Association of GI Consortia) and eBay, one of the worldwide leading companies providing sales services via Internet, an important memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the protection of GIs on the web. The MoU assigns a central role to the “Verified Rights Owner (VeRO) Program” created by eBay, through which intellectual property rights (IPRs) owners can easily report any infringement of their rights. Through the VeRO program, the Central Inspectorate for Quality and Prevention of Frauds (Italian acronym ICQRF) of the Mipaaf, which is the authority in charge of the administrative (ex officio) protection of GIs in Italy, by its own initiative and/or at the request of a GI Group, has been empowered to send eBay a "notice of GI infringements", whenever an unauthorized use of those is found on the e-Bay platform.
Since May, several fake GIs listed on the platform eBay have been reported by the ICQRF and promptly removed by eBay, just to name a few: WineKit “Chianti”, CheeseKit mentioning but not including GI cheeses, “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” “White”, "Parmesan cheese" from Florida. The latter case is quite interesting, as the product was sold not only in Italy but all over the EU.
Moreover, to increase consumers’ understanding on the unique characteristics of GI products, specific web pages as well as historical and technical photo galleries on the Italian food heritage will be soon published on the eBay platform.
Do you know all oriGIn’s advocacy campaigns we have been carrying out over the last 6 years in favor of GIs at the global level? We encourage you to visit our dedicated page to keep abreast on our most interesting campaigns and understand better how oriGIn defends your interest around the world @ http://www.origin-gi.com/index.php/en/activities/advocacy.html
In this section, you will find our letters and position papers as other interesting documents concerning international and regional fora in which oriGIn participates and regularly expresses its views in favor of a fair and transparent legal framework for the protection of GIs, among them the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union (EU), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
This year, oriGIn has secured 2 seats in the newly established European Commission Civil Dialogue Group (CDG) on Quality and Promotion. The first Group meeting took place in Brussels on 21 November (See the agenda and the documents distributed by the Commission)
Among the most interesting topics discussed, the Commission presented some preliminary ideas on the possibilities for further simplification in the area of quality policy. A presentation delivered by the Commission available on our website - see the link above) identified some of the differences among the 4 European Regulations on GIs in terms of definitions, procedures, legal protection and logos. The Commission stressed the fact that the simplification exercise is at an early stage, and it is keen to receive the comments of all interested stakeholders. On non-agricultural GIs, the Commission mentioned that it received 130 contributions to its “Public consultation on a possible extension of GI protection of the EU to non-agricultural products – Making the most out of Europe’s traditional know-how”. A conference will be organized in Brussels on 19 January 2015 (date to be confirmed) to discuss the way forward. oriGIn stressed the fact it supports the establishment of a community sui generis system to recognize and protect non-agricultural GIs, provided that this does not undermine or create confusion with the existing well-established European GIs systems. On GIs and new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), the Commission reaffirmed its commitment to ensure a positive outcome for the “.wine” and “.vin” strings. oriGIn reaffirmed its worries about the risks of proliferation of GI abuse on the Internet in light of the introduction of 1.300 new gTLDs as well as the lack of mechanisms to protect GIs in traditional (".com", etc..) as well as new gTLDs (".food", ".coffee", ".pizza", ".bio", etc.). Moreover, oriGIn asked the Commission to have a periodical update on the ongoing reform of the Community trade mark system. On promotion issues, the Commission informed the Group that the delegated and implementing acts of Regulation 1144/2014/EU on information provision and promotion measures concerning agricultural products implemented in the internal market and in third countries will be adopted in September 2015 (see a detailed presentation on this issue – please click on the above-mentioned link). On promotion, you will also find some interesting information about the European Commission planned initiatives at Expo 2015 (please click on the above-mentioned link).