Italy Vows To Bring Entire Government To Bear To Oppose Croatian 'Prosek' Trademark
from the whining-about-wine dept
We’ve written a couple of times about the Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco, whom I have nicknamed “The Prosecco People” because I’m not typing that every time. This organization with the sole goal of protecting the “Prosecco” name from being used, or nearly used, by anyone else has taken this mission to extreme lengths historically. Serving as examples were such times as The Prosecco People opposing a French company’s non-alcoholic sparkling wine brand dubbed “Nosecco“, as well as bullying a pet treat company that created a drink for pets called “Pawsecco“. In both cases, if you can find any real reason to worry about public confusion as to the source of those goods, you’re a crazy person.
But those examples were parodies and puns that at least nodded at the Prosecco product. The latest bullying attempt to protect the Prosecco brand comes from Italian government ministers and targets the EU’s consideration for protected status of a Croatian sweet wine called “Prosek.”
Italy said on Wednesday it would protest to the European Commission over an attempt by Croatia to get EU-protected label status for a sweet white wine which Rome says has a name that is too similar to its own famed prosecco. Brussels agreed on Tuesday to consider an application by Croatia to have its Prosek wine classified as a recognised protected label (PDO), outraging Italian producers who said the name would create confusion among consumers.
Agriculture Minister Stefano Patuanelli told state broadcaster RAI the whole Italian government would oppose the application “in an adequate and compact way”.
The whole Italian government? Dang, I guess Italy is simply not fucking around on this one. Which is a bit silly, actually, as Prosek has nothing to do with Prosecco. While the EU originally did refuse to register the name of Prosek for protected status back in 2013, the fact is that Prosek has been around for literally thousands of years, isn’t a sparkling wine, doesn’t use the same grapes for production, and there is not a single ounce of shared history when it comes to the origin of each’s name. In other words, Prosek is a thing in the world, whether Italy wants it to be or not. In addition, it’s worth noting that Prosek is made with red grapes, so even the coloration of the drinks are different.
But, despite all of that, apparently the Prosecco folks in Italy have absolutely lost their minds over this.
Luca Zaia, governor of the northerly Veneto region, which is a major prosecco producer, called Croatia’s application “an absolute disgrace” and demanded vigorous opposition from Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government.
“They are stealing an important label from our country, it’s as if they wanted to take away Ferrari,” he said.
Yeah, not really. There is no stealing here at all. There is only Croatia seeking to get protected status on an age-old wine it has made for a long, long time. In remarks, the EU commission indicated that just because the two types of wine have some similarity in sound, that doesn’t mean Prosek can’t receive protected status. For that to be denied, there would need to be reasonable concern about customer confusion.
But, as you can see above, very little about Italy’s stance on this is reasonable. Nor has been its past bullying over Prosecco.