The term "GRANA" first
came into use to indicate a cheese with a grainy structure,
produced in the Po Valley from the eleventh century onwards. As the
reputation of this popular cheese grew, several varieties of GRANA
were established (Grana Lodigiano, Emiliano, Lombardo, Veneto
etc.), all grouped under the term "PADANO". Following the creation
of designations of origin for cheese, under law 125 of 10 April
1954, an application was made for the recognition of the GRANA
PADANO designation of origin.
The occasional generic use of the
word "GRANA" on its own should be considered improper and
illegitimate, since the use of the word "GRANA" separately from the
adjective "PADANO" is prohibited under the terms of articles 9 and
10 of the above-mentioned law 125 of 10 April 1954.
Moreover, under bilateral agreements, the term "GRANA" is now also
protected in Germany, Austria, France and Spain.
This level of protection was
expressly requested when the application to be awarded the
Protected Designation of Origin status was made to the EC for Grana
Padano cheese. This was confirmed by Commission Regulation (EC)
1107/96, which authorised the recognition of GRANA PADANO
Consequently, the designation "GRANA" is also fully entitled to
the protection given by art. 13 of Council Regulation (EC)
510/2006, in particular under paragraph (b), according to which
registered designations are protected against "any misuse,
imitation or evocation, even if the true origin of the product is
indicated or if the protected name is translated or accompanied by
an expression such as 'style', 'type', 'method', 'as produced in',
'imitation' or similar".
In essence, the term "GRANA" is an
integral and characterising part of the Protected Designation of
Origin "GRANA PADANO" and cannot therefore under any circumstances
be used separately from the adjective "PADANO", or with reference
to any cheese other than the one legally entitled to use the full
This important principle has also been authoritatively confirmed in
a recent ruling of the Court of First Instance of the European
Communities (dated 12 September 2007, case no. T-291/03).
The unlawful or illegitimate use of the word "GRANA" in generic
terms, and separately from the adjective "PADANO", is prohibited by
the relevant national authorities, while the Grana Padano Cheese
Protection Consortium also intervenes in order to ensure protection
outside the EU, by instructing local lawyers to take legal
proceedings in countries where there are instances of the illegal
use of the term "GRANA".