The European Court of Justice (EJC), in its ruling of May 8, 2014, case C-35/13, ruled on the conditions under which a geographical designation may be used to designate a product manufactured outside the relevant zone, where that designation is not recognised as a protected designation of origin or as a protected geographical indication within the meaning of the Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92.

The ECJ ruled on the request made in a proceeding where it was disputed the sale of a salami sausage called “Salame Felino” (Felino is a place located in the province of Parma, Italy) whereas it had been produced outside the territory of Parma.

The ECJ, on the assumption that the geographical designation “Felino” did not obtain a Community registration within the meaning of the Regulation No. 2081/92 at the time of the event, stated that no one could claim the exclusive right to use such geographical designation.

Consequently, the ECJ ruled that Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 does not afford protection to a geographical designation, which has not obtained a Community registration. Instead it ruled that that a geographical designation may be protected under national legislation concerning geographical designations relating to products for which there is no specific link between their characteristics and their geographical origin.