Google, the Italian Ministry of Agricultural Policies and Unioncamere (the Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Handicraft and Agriculture) are going to develop a Project, which consists in creating a website, www.google.it/madeinitaly, that will inform end users of the history and the culture of Italy through the Italian excellences of handcrafted, food and agricultural products.

In this regard, the President of Coldiretti (the National Confederation of small independent farmer) declared that “the initiative has the aim of combating the counterfeiting of goods, with particular reference to the agricultural food market”.

In fact, in many cases, Italy had to protect the “made in Italy”, under the European regulatory framework for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs, (Council Regulations n. 2081/1992 and n. 510/2006).

For the purpose of the European legislation, designation of origin means the name of a region, a specific place or, in exceptional cases, a country, used to describe an agricultural product or a foodstuff.

Referring to this issue, on February 26, 2008, the Court of Justice of European Union, in the case law (C-132/05) for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs related to “Parmigiano Reggiano” cheese, against the use of the name ‘Parmesan’, stated that the name ‘Parmesan’ on the labelling of products which do not comply with the requirements of the specification for the protected designation of origin (PDO) “Parmigiano Reggiano” can not be used,  favoring the appropriation of the reputation of the genuine, Community-wide protected product, under the European Legislation.

Moreover, on May 20, 2003, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case law (C-108/01) related to the protection of the designation of origin of  “Prosciutto di Parma” stated that European Regulation on the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs must be interpreted as not precluding the use of a protected designation of origin from being subject to the condition that operations such as the slicing and packaging of the product take place in the region of production, where such a condition is laid down in the specification. Where the use of the protected designation of origin “Prosciutto di Parma”’for ham marketed in slices is made subject to the condition that slicing and packaging operations be carried out in the region of production, this constitutes a measure having equivalent effect to a quantitative restriction on exports within the meaning of Article 29 EC, but may be regarded as justified, and hence compatible with that provision. However, for the Court of Justice, the condition in question cannot be relied on against economic operators, as it was not brought to their attention by adequate publicity in Community legislation.

Hence, taking account of the Italian tradition of agricultural products or  foodstuffs, and the widespread interest of several countries in the products bearing the “Made in Italy” brand, the Project   should allow the appreciation of the Italian food  tradition.

The Project aims to help the Italian companies, in particular the small and medium enterprises, to be aware of the benefits of Internet, promoting on line the value of the Italian tradition. In fact, so far, only 34% of the Italian companies promote their  agricultural products or  foodstuffs by means of their own websites.

The Project should promote the “Made in Italy”, providing information concerning no.261 Italian handcrafted, food and agricultural products that have the geographical indications, such as Protected designation of origin (PDO), protected geographical indication (PGI) and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG).

However, the Project will not involve e-commerce solutions.