Trademark Battle Over Prosciutto di Parma Comes to an End in Canada

  • Trademark Clearance
Trademark Battle Over Prosciutto di Parma Comes to an End in Canada

After a two-decade long trademark dispute, Canadians will finally be able to buy Prosciutto di Parma in 2018.

Because of a legal dispute between the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma and Maple Leaf Foods, using the name “Parma” in Canada had been banned. As a result, the popular Italian dried ham has been sold in Canada as “The Original Prosciutto.”

Prosciutto di Parma is made in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, and as a protected designation of origin, it’s the only area where the dried ham can be made. According to The Globe and Mail, the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma’s 145 prosciutto producers produce about nine million hams/year, of which 70,000 are shipped to Canada.

The change comes as a result of amendments made to a trade agreement between Canada and Europe (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA), which includes a protection for geographic indications — like Prosciutto di Parma — thereby putting an end to the ban and opening up the use of the name Prosciutto di Parma in Canada.

Maple Leaf Foods, a Canadian-based packaged meats company, owns the trademark for “PARMA” in Canada and has been selling its brand of Canadian prosciutto under that name since 1971. Over the years, negotiations between the Italian consortium and Maple Leaf over the use of the name went nowhere and the trademark fight ended up in court for years.

And now the trademark case has been suspended.

Happy New Year, Canadian Prosciutto di Parma fans!