By decision n. 21191 of 13 September 2017, the joint sections of the divisions of the Supreme Court has recognized the competence of the National Ordinary Court for the action taken by Azienda Agricola Salaparuta s.p.a. based on its registered trademark ‘Salaparuta’ for the nullity of the homonymous P.D.O. conferred to a group of Sicilian wine producers with decree by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and measures by the EU Commission.The Supreme Court has qualified a P.D.O. as an ‘industrial property right’ pursuant to art. 1 of the Italian IP Code. Consequently, except in the case in which it is challenged
the administrative regularity of the measures for the grant, it has confirmed the competence of the National Court to assess the claim for nullity of a P.D.O., consisting in a ‘claim having the same content as the one fornullity of a trademark which is denied exclusivity, it being directed tounderline the false, misleading and parasitic nature of a P.D.O. that corresponds to an earlier trademark’.The Supreme Court has moreover pointed out that there is a presumption of validity of the P.D.O. (granted by the domestic and EU registration), but it is not binding in Courts. Furthermore it has confirmed that the owner of an earlier domestic trademark can take action either before the national Court or before the EU Court of Justice.
The matter has therefore been referred again to the Milan Court where the proceedings was originally lodged.