Padrón peppers are one of the gastronomic symbols of Galicia. Fried and with a handful of coarse salt on top, they become famous because some are spicy and others are not. Although varieties of this fruit are cultivated in many places in Spain, the largest producers being the provinces of Almería and Murcia, and they are later marketed as Padrón peppers, the “authentic” are only those from Herbón. It is a Coruña parish that belongs to the municipality of Padrón, where the convent of San Francisco de Herbón is located. They began to be planted there several centuries ago.
This decision has been adopted by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) after resolving a conflict between the City Council of Padrón and the Regulatory Council of the Protected Designation of Origin Pimiento de Herbón. The agency has established that although the use of the word “standard” is free as it refers to a variety of pepper, the fact of including the term “authentic” makes users draw a relationship with the protected designation of origin. Consequently, the council cannot use the “authentic register” brand because “will mislead the consumer “.
“It is implied that it is not only a pepper of the Padrón variety (that is, from any geographical area of cultivation), but that it is a pepper originating in the municipality of Padrón and that, in addition, it is” authentic “, So the relevant consumer can easily establish a direct link with the Herbón Pepper Protected Designation of Origin”, points out the European body in case R 879 / 2020-5.
Román Pérez, the lawyer for the Silex IP firm who has defended the interests of the Herbón Regulatory Council, explains that the controversy dates back to 2018. Then the Padrón City Council requested the registration of the “authentic standard” trademark to distinguish different products, including frozen and canned vegetables; vegetables; dried vegetables; preserved, dried, frozen and cooked fruits; edible jellies; jams; raw and unprocessed agricultural, aquaculture, horticultural and forestry products; seeds, bulbs and seedlings for growing plants, among others.
The Regulatory Council of Herbón opposed the registration on the basis of article 8.6 of Regulation 2017/1001, which regulates European Union trademarks, understanding that it could lead to confusion for users. But in 2020 he saw his claims rejected for not being “well founded”, as decided by the European body.
After appealing, the Intellectual Property Office has said that “Padrón is included in the production area of the protected designation of origin, which may lead consumers to think that they are acquiring peppers that they enjoy all the guarantees of authenticity and quality. enjoyed by Padrón peppers protected by the Protected Designation of Origin Pimiento de Herbón. In this way, the authentic standard mark constitutes a false or misleading indication. The contested sign will mislead the consumer about the true origin, nature or essential characteristics of such products ”, he reasons.
As Román Pérez explains, from now on it will be possible to continue using the word “standard” to designate a variety of pepper, “as it could be golden for apples”, but not accompanied by the term “authentic”. And this because the authentic Padrón peppers are those from Herbón.