LASA MARMO is "Historic Brand of National Interest"

Recognition from the Italian National Trademark and Patent Office

The "Laaser Marmorindustrie Ltd." (abbreviated "Lasa Marmo Ltd.") recently received the award as "Historical Brand of National Interest" ("marchio storico di interesse nazionale") for its core brand "LASA MARMO®" from the Italian Trademark and Patent Office UIBM. Following its inclusion in 2020 as a "Historic Company of Italy" in the register kept by the UNIONCAMERE Chamber of Commerce for companies with a history of over 100 years, this year the marble company from Lasa (Laas) sets another milestone in the long history of its brands with the recognition of the "LASA MARMO®" brand as a "Historic Brand".

The award was made possible by the introduction of this new state seal "Marchio Storico" ("Historical Brand") with the legislative decree of the Minister of Economy on the 10th of January 2020. The measure is part of important initiatives by the Italian government to give even greater visibility abroad to top-quality Italian products that have a rich and long-lasting history and tradition spanning generations. What few people know is that the company name "LASA" in the company name of the Lasa (Laas) marble company is not an adoption of the Italian place name for the Vinschgau valley (in Italian "Val Venosta") village of Laas (in Italian "Lasa"), which was introduced after the annexation of South Tyrol by Italy, but an advertising brand created in 1912 - i.e. even before South Tyrol was annexed into Italian territory - by the founder of today's Lasa (Laas) marble industry, Mathias Gasteiger. The sculptor and professor, who came from the Puster Valley (Val Pusteria) and worked in Munich, came to Laas (Lasa) around 1911. Gasteiger's business idea was to use the marble obtained from the quarries of the Laas Valley (Valle di Lasa) as a material for cladding the façades of prestigious buildings. For this purpose, Gasteiger created the brand "LAASA". With financially strong investors between 1925 and 1930, he established the marble industry that still exists today. After the turmoil of the First World War and under new Italian administration, the brand and the company name were written with only one "A".

The Italian Ministry of Economy provides for the recognition of the trademark that the owner must have registered his trademark for at least 50 years or alternatively, provide proof of continuous use for at least 50 years. This in connection with products or services of a national company as well as under the condition of an "outstanding achievement historically linked to the national territory". Thanks to a thoroughly maintained archive, "LASA MARMO®" was able to provide all the necessary documents and evidence for the recognition of the "Historical Trademark", so that the examiners of the Italian Trademark and Patent Office in Rome approved the application for the granting of the seal of quality.

The registration in the newly created register for "Historical Trademarks of National Interest" also underlines the value creation of the company for Lasa (Laas) and beyond. More than 100 years ago, the most renowned and well-known sculptors spread the fame of the "white gold", extracted from quarries in the Laas valley such as the White Water (Weißwasser) quarry, which has been managed and run by "Lasa Marmo" since 1921, all over the world. In the last century, it was always internationally renowned architects and designers, such as Giò Ponti or Ettore Sottsass, or more recently, star architects such as Santiago Calatrava (architect of the new underground station at the WTC in New York), who have chosen marble refined and processed in the Lasa Marmo workshops for the interior and exterior cladding of their buildings. Today, Lasa Marmo achieves 90 per cent of its turnover from export markets and the recognition as a "Historic Brand" is therefore a welcome and excellent opportunity, especially in the highly competitive global natural stone sector, to better emphasise the important effect of local processing in the marble sector.

"The award encourages us to continue on our chosen path: everything from a single source. Mining and processing on site have always been an issue at Lasa Marmo", Erich Tscholl, COO of LASA MARMO, also emphasises. "It would be too easy for us to ship raw material and raw blocks to cheap foreign countries and have them processed there. That is something that is not part of our corporate philosophy. The brand 'LASA MARMO' stands not only for a beautiful, worldwide incomparable natural stone, but also for the realisation of complete projects in our own factories and in our own town", Erich Tscholl continues. The Lasa-(Laas)-based company has invested particularly in digitalisation in recent years. "We digitise raw marble slabs to have them available for project planning, sales and processing at the push of a button. And we rely on digital planning tools for architects and designers. This means that the peripheral location of Lasa (Laas) no longer has to be a disadvantage in international competition. Especially now, during the Corona crisis, we have made the positive experience that it was important to prepare the entire company for the new challenges but also for the special opportunities associated with digitalisation", Erich Tscholl emphasises.
"These days, we see ourselves in international competition not as a pure, cheap supplier of raw materials, but as a contact partner and problem solver for architects. We generate two-thirds of our turnover through projects", says the COO.

For Lasa Marmo, the recognition has just come at a very special time. On the one hand, the global market has been shaken by Corona. On the other hand, important entrepreneurial and political decisions are pending locally, also in Lasa (Laas), in order to make the marble extracted from the quarries managed and run by Lasa Marmo long lasting for future generations. Thus, all those responsible are currently setting the course for important issues concerning the sustainable quarrying and transport of LASA marble.

The award and the inclusion in the register of "Historical Trademarks" is now an incentive to lead the company and the brand "LASA MARMO®", together with the newly acquired and appropriated technologies, into the future. The only other company from South Tyrol that has also been included in the special register of "Historic Trademarks" of the national trademark and patent office UIBM is the special beer brewery “Forst”. In Italy, other well-known brands such as Benetton, Schiapparelli, Cirio, Yoga, Alpitour, Rifle and Il Manifesto have already been recognised as "historical brands".