THURSDAY, 25 JUNE 2009
A reference for a preliminary ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Communities has been made by the Simvoulio tis Epikratias (Greece) in Case C-161/09 ?. Frangopoulos kai Sia OE v Nomarkhiaki Avtodiikisi Korinthias (the first party's name is also spelled 'Fragkolpoulos' on the Curia website. Three questions are referred, of which the second and third relate to protected designations of origin:
"1. Can a company operating under the conditions under which the applicant operates, that is to say, as a dried grape processing and packing company established in a specific area of the country to which it is prohibited by law to bring different varieties of drying grapes from other areas of the country for the purpose of processing and packing, thereby preventing it from exporting dried grapes which it would have processed from such drying grapes, plead in court that the legislative measures in question conflict with Article 29 EC?If any reader knows the background to this reference, Class 46 would be grateful if her or she could please tell us.
2. If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, do provisions such as those in internal Greek law governing the dispute at issue which, on the one hand, prohibit drying grapes from being brought from different areas of the country, for the purpose of storage, processing and onward export, to a specific area in which it is only permitted to process locally grown drying grapes and, on the other hand, reserve the possibility of recognising protected designation of origin solely for drying grapes which have been processed and packed in the specific area in which they were grown, conflict with Article 29 EC which prohibits quantitative restrictions on exports or measures having equivalent effect?
3. If the answer to the second question is in the affirmative, does protection of the quality of a product which is defined geographically by the national law of a Member State and which has not been granted the possibility of bearing a particular distinguishing name which would mark its generally acknowledged superior quality and uniqueness due to its originating from a certain geographical area, constitute, within the meaning of Article 30 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, a legitimate objective of overriding public interest which justifies a derogation from Article 29 EC prohibiting quantitative restrictions on exports of the said product and measures having equivalent effect?"