It is not common for a Chinese People’s Court to agree with a foreign company in a business case for unfair competition. The enterprise was succeeded by Fabbri 1905, the glorious Bolognese food company engaged in the confectionery sector. A holding that exports over 1300 products to more than 100 countries, for a turnover close to 90 million euros in 2019. We are famous for the Amarena Fabbri, bottled in the special ceramic jars of Faenza decorated in blue and white. And here comes the crux of the Chinese question. A Tianjin company had seen fit to copy the package.
Nicola Fabbri (in the picture), a profound connoisseur of the Chinese market where the family business landed in 1999, decided to do battle by suing intellectual property thieves. Lawyer Lara Gualdi of the Bologna Bar and the Chinese firm HFG Law Firm presented the unfair competition case in 2019 at the Shanghai Yangpu District People’s Court. Now the sentence that confirms the Italian company and recognizes “the high reputation of the name and packaging”. It is not a small success, because often, playing on the vastness of the Chinese market, there are local producers who justify their piracy by claiming that they have never heard of the brand (which instead they copied) and that in China the foreign product does not it was “famous” among consumers. With Amarena Fabbri you cannot pretend not to know, the civil judges of Shanghai have decided, citing in the sentence “the famous blue and white Faenza decoration”.
For Nicola Fabbri it is not only the conclusion of a legal matter, but also a moral satisfaction. Says al Courier service: «For me Shanghai is a second home, we worked with humility to enter the Chinese market, arriving more than twenty years ago. We have opened up a niche space in small steps, investing heavily without looking at immediate results, because family businesses must not only think about the results of the single quarterly reports but about the long term. We have five generations of family behind us starting from 1905. It was not easy: I remember well the first market analyzes, when Chinese consumers told us that the taste of black cherry reminded us of their cough syrup. We have persuaded them with patience, we have also set up a school for Chinese pastry chefs and bartenders, to impose our products developed with a sense of tradition and craftsmanship ».
Things went so well that in 2009 Fabbri China, based in Shanghai, was created and the company, in addition to sour cherry, distributes ingredients for artisanal ice cream and professional syrups in China, supplying restaurant chains. “I learned that the Chinese consumer is very curious and dynamic, he knows how to appreciate quality: now the black cherry flavor is the third most widespread in the segment of stick ice cream”, says Fabbri. “Legal recognition comforts us, demonstrates that the protection of intellectual property in China is now similar to that of other large countries, so Fabbri is a success for all made in Italy”, concludes the entrepreneur.