Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission
The Commission was not aware of misleading use of the designation of origin (PDO) ‘Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino’ in markets outside of the European Union and in particular in the USA.
Registration of a geographical indication through Regulation (EC) 510/2006(1) provides for protection within the territory of the European Union. Responsibility for ensuring protection lies with Member States who have to designate the competent authority or authorities responsible for controls both at the level of production and marketing. Geographical indications registered by virtue of Regulation (EC) 510/2006 are subject to a monitoring system in line with Regulation (EC) 882/2004(2).
Protection of a name in the European Union does not automatically lead to protection in third countries. For many years, the European Commission has therefore strived to improve the protection of PDO and protected geographical indications (PGI) in third countries through multilateral and bilateral agreements.
In the absence of a bilateral agreement protecting EU PDO and PGI in the USA, the producers of ‘Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino’ should seek protection under US law, in order to facilitate the fight against misuse of that name.
However the EU seeks to improve protection of geographical indications at the WTO level through the creation of a binding multilateral register facilitating protection of geographical indications and extension of the additional protection currently only available for geographical indications for wines and spirits under Article 23 TRIPS (i.e. protection notably independent of whether the public is misled as to the geographical origin of the good) to geographical indications for all products.
The Conclusion of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be another multilateral step to improve the protection of PDO and PGI.
With regard to bilateral agreements, the recent entry into force of the EU‑Korea Free Trade Agreement is just one example how the European Union achieves protection of EU names in third countries through bilateral agreements. Similar negotiations are ongoing with India and an agreement has just been reached with Ukraine, which will assure a high level of protection for geographical indications from the EU.