A Chinese company has tried to market and sell some kind of Chinese olive oil, capitalizing on the international recognition of the name ‘Sitia’, which refers to high quality oil produced in the homonym region of Crete.
The Chinese company was ready to start marketing the oil, using the name Sitia, ignoring the fact that the oil producers of Crete have the exclusive copyright of the name.
What the Chinese company tried to do was to benefit from the global recognition and appreciation of a name which became famous, gaining critical acclaim all over the world due to the impeccable quality of the Cretan oil.
The goal is obvious; the name would bring huge profits to the company, jeopardizing the reputation of the original oil from Sitia. If this happens, consumers will not be able any more to recognize what they are buying; the Chinese question the commercial rights of the Cretan Company, and the entrenchment of the name from international commissions and organisations.
The Greek Embassy in Beijing discovered the actions of the Chinese company, which has already submitted its application to the Chinese bureau of Commerce, for the purpose of using the name Sitia for the produced oil. It is said that the bureau has already approved the application, on the first level.
According to the permission, the Chinese company will be able to either sell the oil, keeping the same name, or claim profits from the Cretan Company, questioning and stretching international terms and regulations. These – and much more – details are mentioned in the official document sent by the Greek Embassy in Beijing to the Cretan Association of Oil producers, shocking the Greek officials. As expected, the Greeks will use all legal means to protect their self evident and implicit rights.
This issue is, though, of significant importance, because if the Chinese company manages to pass its claims, then the path is open for all Chinese companies that want to benefit from copyright names in the EU. The main question now is if the European Union has the strength and means to protect its trademarks and ensure the quality of the products that circulate in the countries members.
For the Greek officials the problem is double, as they also foresee the compromise of reputation of the Greek olive oil, which is renowned for its quality and high standards.