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Varietal Names: protection or liberalization? The new generic domain names “.WINE/.VIN”.

EU proposal to liberalize vineyard names caused vigorous reactions by Italian reps to the AG Directorate of the EuroParliament, and has been finally withdrawn.

So far, vineyard names – linked for history and tradition to specific Italian terroirs – will not appear on labels wherever produced in EU or worldwide.

Although the IG-protected names (DOP-IGT) enjoy a satisfactory degree of protection according to established national and EU law, however this is not the case for varietal – especially autochthonous – vineyards: they are exposed to abusive or speculative exploitation.

Since January 2016 anybody can apply and register new domain names .WINE and .VIN: while representatives of the IG-protected wines asked and obtained to their pertinent indication  to be reserved as a domain names – es: prosecco.WINE -, however the overwhelming majority of the vineyard names (including the autochthons ones), at the contrary, is available to whomever to register.

As a matter of fact, the domain “lambrusco.WINE” has been, firstly, registered by a Spanish winemaker (there is an ongoing court battle in Spain for the exclusive use of this grape varietal name), and after a WIPO arbitration, the domain has been “rescued” on the 29th of April 2016.

WebLegal, according to an established experience on International disputes concerning trademarks and domain names, conducted a detailed analysis of the current situation about the autochthonous vine names, either Italian and Southern Italian ones. “Radici del Sud” could register the majority of the domain names still available, keeping them safe until the lawful Wine Provider (eventually associated under a collective trademark) asks the acquisition.

Considering the importance of the matter, “Radici del Sud” decided to reserve it the opening session of the meeting (June 13th h:18:45), to be held at Hotel Regina in Torre a Mare (Bari), to discuss the situation and the possible solutions, involving also the Italian Regions and those responsible for checks on numerous regional GIs.

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