Deruta Municipality steps in to fights fakes

Deruta - Coat of arms

Deruta Mayor has recently launched a program to stop the spread of counterfeit ceramics, inexpensive industrial products mostly made in China or Eastern Europe and marked “Made in Deruta” or even “Handmade in Deruta”.

Let us take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture.

Deruta pottery is facing the worst economic downturn since the 19th century, due to a major slow down in orders from the US. Ceramics are Deruta key asset.  Nowhere else in Italy there is such a concentration of pottery makers and so talented ones, too. A crisis in the pottery production cannot but involve the whole town.

Positively intending to lead Deruta through its “Great Depression”, Mayor Verbena stepped in one year ago with a very single-minded program:

  • to reaffirm the value of Deruta pottery
  • to make the most of the huge amount of Talent available in Deruta and proudly nurtured through more than seven centuries
  • to exploit the town’s historical, cultural and artistic assets and change Deruta into a lively City of Ceramics, with events attracting to Deruta pottery lovers, experts and scholars.

He is not a professional politician (isn’t it good news?), but an experienced accountant, who knows each and every problem Deruta potters are facing. The first one being the fight against fake Deruta pottery.

One of his very first actions as Mayor was to set up a Task Force on the Protection of Deruta place name and artistic production, supporting his efforts with technical advice.

First, they registered Deruta place name in the European Union, in the US, in China and in Australia.

Then they passed an Ordinance (Municipal Law) to prevent the misuse of Deruta place name or geographical indication against the counterfeits products from other places.

From now on the Deruta pottery makers and distributors can be prosecuted by Italian Authorities if their pottery is not entirely made within the Town limits and the mark doesn’t clearly say how the piece was made. A handmade Deruta ceramic must be made without any use of industrial techniques.
When the place name registration will be effective – unfortunately, there is a technical lead time – the misuse of Deruta place name will cause the pottery to be rejected directly at Customs level.

ThatsArte.com has been asked by Mayor Verbena and Grazia Ranocchia – the Municipal Officer assigned to the Department of Production Development and Museum Services –  to help them spread the word about their efforts to reaffirm the value of Deruta pottery and to protect the Customers from deception, whether deliberate or otherwise.

We are proud to support Deruta Municipality.

We will definitely do our best to keep our Customers and Visitors up to date on Mayor Verbena’s project development.

We strongly believe in the artistic value of Deruta pottery, in the skill of its tornianti – wheel throwers – and ceramicists, in the timeless beauty of its designs and the charm of a hand painted ceramic. That’s why at thatsArte.com we’ve chosen to feature only the artists who make authentic handmade Deruta ceramics.

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“Protection of Deruta place name and of Deruta artistic production” – Municipality Ordinance #20, March 2008.

It’s the key objective of Deruta Municipality to protect the city place name and its artistic handmade production from the negative impact of counterfeit products – cheap, industrially made items – that have seriously damaged Deruta potters and pottery factories, causing some of them to stop their production and/or to lay off their employees.

Therefore, the Town Board of Deruta does ordain as follows :
– each step of artistic ceramics production using the place name Deruta must be carried out within the Town limits.

– if the artistic ceramic production is nor entirely made within Deruta authority’s limits, the use of Deruta place name or any related adjective on ceramic items will be considered deceptive and it will be prosecuted for it.

– pottery makers and pottery distributors must use the place name Deruta or any related adjective together with the description of how the piece was made – for example, Hand Made in Deruta.

– the text “Hand Made” can be used only when the item is entirely handmade, i.e. without any use of industrial techniques

– the use of decalcomanias or similar techniques must be explicitly mentioned on the ceramic item

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More about Geographical Indication

A geographical indication is usually a place name giving the origin of the goods to which it is applied. These goods usually have a quality which can only be obtained if they are produced in the specified place, for example, because of the climate, or local soil conditions, or quality of the water.

Geographical indications are mostly used in relation to agricultural products, but may also be applied to other products which rely on human or other factors.
This is a fairly recent form of intellectual property protection, which was introduced to protect the public from deception, whether deliberate or otherwise. It means, for example, that if you buy Scotch whiskey, you know that it is made in Scotland, and it not a product made in the same way as Scotch whiskey, but elsewhere (eg in Japan).

In order to have a name recognized as a geographical indication, the place needs to have acquired a reputation for a particular type of product and a quality or qualities associated with it. A geographical indication, therefore, helps to protect and enhance that reputation.

A geographical indication is not generally owned by one particular trader and so does not function in the same way as a trademark (i.e. to distinguish the goods or services of one trader from those of others). It can be used by anyone who meets the set criteria.

Geographical indications are protected by International Treaties, and signatories of these treaties then incorporate protection into their own national laws, either by amendment of existing laws, or the creation of new ones. Geographical indications are therefore ultimately enforced under national law.

Source: http://www.marques.org/FAQs/Default.asp

2 thoughts on “Deruta Municipality steps in to fights fakes

  1. I’m an American artist hoping to study ceramics this summer in Deruta. I try to explain Deruta majolica to friends and family by searching online and all sorts of objects that should never be classified pop up. Its frustrating because they see cheap tacky not even close knock-offs, and that aesthetic (if you can even call it that) is impressed in their minds. I only see how this protects the national treasure Italy has in this centuries old mecca of ceramics.

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