We talk about a case of false indication of origin which caused the seizure of over 20.000 bags of fertilizer for agricultural use coming from China but bearing the words “fertilizers made in Italy”.
The third section of the Italia Corte di Cassazione (judgment number 15429 of March 28, 2017) rejected the appeal to the validation of the seizure made by the Court of Bari through an order. Let’s see why.
The seizure was made in relation to the offense of Article 4, paragraph 49 of Law n.350 of 2003, due to the fact that
“the words printed on the adhesive tape used to wrap the wooden platforms on which the bags containing the products were loaded (in which it was written the production in Italy of fertilizers “fertilizers made in Italy”) constituted false indication of origin, and also due to the further fact that on the same bags were printed the words “manufacturer: xxx (Italian company)”, misleading consumers toward the source and origin of the imported products”.
Each platform on which the bags of fertilizers were placed was wrapped in transparent cellophane and adhesive tape, bearing the mark of the importing firm and the words “fertlizers made in Italy”.
The Corte di Cassazione writes:
“Properly the Court (order of 14 April 2016) has recognised the criminal offense under that provision, underlining that the word placed on the tape constitutes false indication of origin because it is sure the origin from China of the fertilizers, and the affixing on the adhesive tapes, which is used for the packaging of the bags in which the product had been divided, of the untrue wording “made in Italy”.
“The Court, furthermore, logically highlighted the importance of the entry of this false indication on the tape used for packaging, in view of the wholesale business of the applicant, and, therefore, the destination to the public of the platform as well as packaged (and therefore with the adhesive tape showing said false indication), with the consequent relevance of this wording on the adhesive tape used for packaging”.
The Court also notes, besides, that
“equally in a correct way the Court has identified a misleading indication, likely to mislead consumers, in the affixation on the bags of fertlizers of the words “MANUFACTURER: XXX (ITALIAN COMPANY)”, excluding that the said company can be qualified as a manufacturer, for not having helped to change the characteristics of the product, as required by Article 2, paragraph 2, lett.m) of d.lgs.n.75 of 29 April 2010, having, peacefully, limited to import it”.