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New powers to issue leather legal warnings

The battle is on to prevent certain materials being described as ‘leather’.

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German leather industry association Verband der Deutschen Lederindustrie (VDL) has been given the authority to issue legal warnings to companies that are deemed to be misusing the term ‘leather’ in their marketing. Competition laws in Germany permit a select number of trade associations to issue such notifications to organisations which are using marketing messages in ways that are likely to mislead or confuse consumers buying leather items.

Leather industry representative body The Confederation of National Associations of Tanners and Dressers of the European Community (COTANCE) is said to be in support of this development in order to avoid consumer deception. It stated: “We care about transparency, and we fight against unfair claims. We are not doing this to make money or gain notoriety, but simply because our affiliated companies are harmed when others misuse the term leather.”

A number of European Union countries now legally enforce a specific definition of genuine leather. For example, the law in Portugal outlines how leather should be authenticated and when the term ‘leather’ is permitted to be used. Accordingly, companies such as material manufacturers, brand owners and retailers must not use the word ‘leather’ alongside any qualifiers, prefixes or suffixes that are deemed to contradict the ‘intrinsic nature’ of leather.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the March 2023 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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