Protecting names such as „Marble“ or „Calacatta“ is the topic of discussions / A clean slate for the stone branch?
Plagiarism goes on. With that we mean that ceramics, quartz composites, and engineered Stone are still calling their products „Marble“ or are giving them names of well-known types of stone such as „Calacatta“. We had already reported on measures envisaged in the EU to put a halt to such practices (see link below).
Spanish Cluster de la Piedra Natural undertook an analysis of the situation at home. Javier Fernandez sent us an English version. 2002 actions were brought against perpetrators by the national natural stone Organization (Federación Española de Piedra Natural, FDP) and won!
The motions were brought forth before the Autocontrol, a chamber of commerce judicial body created to control unfair competition. It is a body brought to life by the advertising branch to ensure that no false claims are made. But motions may be brought forth by third parties as well.
Since then plagiarism has practically disappeared; but recently there has been an increase according to Cluster Piedra. But how can the natural stone branch put a permanent stop to such practices ONCE AND FOR ALL? This is the topic of the analysis.
For the time being, renewed effort to bring instances of plagiarism before Autocontrol seems the only way. In the long run, only a registered emblem of Geographical Indications Protection, as is currently being discussed for natural stone on a EU level, will help. But this will take time to put into place.
… and while we’re on the subject of trademarks: producers of Macael Marble (Mármol Macael) and Pinacal Limestone (Piedra natural de Castilla y Léon, Pinacal) are out of the woods. They went to the trouble of having their names protected as a registered brand of stone back in 2004.
Facts and figures on markets and proportion of engineered stone are almost nonexistent. Our screenshot shows a study published in the Italian newsletter Apuo Versilia Produce. In edition 102 an analysis by Massimo Marcesini of ISR (Istituto di Studi e Ricerche) on the subject of Italian exports to the USA shows engineered stone and quartz composites as the red curve, ceramics as the green curve and natural stone as the blue curve.
Within the field of discussion on how the natural stone branch should deal with the increasing competition by quartz composites and engineered stone, a few innovative approaches are rearing their heads.
One suggestion is to ban engineered stone from natural stone trade fairs. Wonasa-President Baha Ali Şayakcı recently was on record propagating such a step.
But an increasing number of natural stone producers are also in the engineered stone-producing business and rightly so as there is an increasing market for the products.
Also, producing engineered stone is a perfect method to put waste material from the stone production to gainful use.
This leads us to another approach: give up the fight altogether and found a type of stone family. The idea is based on the fact that quartz composites and engineered stone are made from up to 90% natural stone meal.
Logically one would then have to include glass in the family as well since it is made of granite and silica. And plagiarism would continue.
Examples of plagiarism
We took the trouble of compiling a few examples how by ceramic and engineered stone producers anem their products:
* Fiandre the big producer of ceramics uses the label „Marble/Granite effect“;
* „Efetto Marmo“ is used by ceramics producer Orsolini;
* Panaria calls its collection „Trilogy“ and speaks of two typical adjectives relating to marble: „eternal charm of marble effect stoneware“;
* Porcelanosa company produces a ceramic tile by the name of „Calacatta Gold“;
* German Gutjahr calls its engineered stone brand „Bella Marmor“;
* Pizarreño of Chile produces cement fiber elements called „Marmolado“ and „Piedra“;
* Polish Ziel-Bruk produces concrete tiles in colors it names „ wapien“ (limestone) or „piascawie“ (Sandstone).
Beside the blatant examples of plagiarism there also exists a gray area of more creative and cautious pirates.
The topic is also subject of heated discussion within the stone branch and could lead to a general clean-up.
And there is a persistent rumor that EU import companies buy mass produced foreign material, rename it and sell it as EU produced.
Finally, what might look like plagiarism at first sight actually isn’t: some „Calacatta“ which originates from China is, in fact, the real McCoy. Raw blocks are transported to China for processing and finishing and reimported.
Cluster de la Piedra Natural, download
(11.04.2018, USA: 04.11.2018)