28/11/2014 – E-commerce: The protection of GIs on the web

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. 


This summary has been extracted from an “oriGIn Alert”, which is a service reserved exclusively to oriGIn members.  

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