European court: Italian vinegar makers can’t have sole claim to ‘balsamic’

Dec. 4 (UPI) — The European Court of Justice in ruled Wednesday that vinegar makers in a certain province in Northern Italy don’t have sole ownership of the term “balsamic.”

The Luxembourg-based court dismissed the case brought by vinegar makers from Modena province. They initially went to court in Germany to stop a German vinegar manufacturer from using the term “balsamic” in its products.

The German court asked the ECJ to rule in the case.

Vinegar makers in Modena province have designated protection for the term “aceto balsamico di Modena” (balsamic vinegar from Modena). They argued they have protection for each individual term in the phrase, specifically “balsamic,” but the ECJ disagreed.

“The term ‘aceto’ is a common term and the term ‘balsamico’ is an adjective that is commonly used to refer to a vinegar with a bitter-sweet flavor,” the ruling said.

“In today’s judgment, the court declared that the protection of the name ‘Aceto Balsamico di Modena’ does not extend to the use of the individual non-geographical terms of that name.”

The European Union grants protected geographical indication status to certain foodstuffs to prevent other manufacturers from creating imitations of an inferior quality.