Italian wineries, even the small ones, are the linchpin of a sector that has industrialized itself, has access to international markets, is handling acquisition operations and is watched with interest by investment funds.
An internationalization and such a marked development that they have required the support of structured teams and consultancies that go beyond the strict legal sphere.
«Going abroad is not easy – comments Cesare Varallo, new partner of the firm LegisLab – because we have to face a world made up of non-harmonised legislation, different restrictive measures, different standards on contaminants and pesticides. Furthermore, the whole problem of translation, naming and labeling must be considered». The focus is on the protection of intellectual property. It is often difficult to file one’s own label and it is common for the trademark to be anticipated by similar signs, in Italy or abroad. It is also necessary to monitor the web to verify that the brand or name is not used improperly.
The lawyer is not enough: it is from this point of view that we need to read the entry into LegisLab of the lawyer Varallo specialized in Food legislation, accompanied by a team half made up of experts with a strong scientific background. Also Herbert Smith Freehills has technological know-how with a working group dedicated to this sector which includes physicists, chemists and engineers. They are called upon to assist their customers on fronts such as counterfeiting or fraud, but above all for the protection of intellectual property, which starts from the name of the winery (which more often than not coincides with the surname of the founding family).
If divisions of assets occur over time, labels with similar names can arise. «The use of the same surname – comments Pietro Pouché, partner of the firm – can create situations of confusion on the market that need to be resolved also thanks to the assistance of lawyers. Then there is the issue of geographical origin (PDO) and who can boast of it». But by now the wine and its cellar have become the reference point of a territory and the destination of a tourist and food and wine experience. «We follow the cellars – explains Francesco Ferrara, partner of Pepe and Associates – also in ancillary activities such as catering or real estate. Wine production becomes the engine of valorisation of a territory».