THE LAW OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS

Bernard O’Connor

Over time, a product made in a specific place can develop a unique reputation. This reputation is often due to special charactaristics present in the place: its people, its climate and its landscape. Sometimes, the reputation is due to the people or the climate or the landscape alone. Sometimes it is due to a combination of two or all three characteristics combined.

There are thousands of examples. In the food and drinks sector there are fruits and vegetables, wines, cheeses and cured meats: Champagne; Chedder, Parma ham and Tipperary turnips. In manufacturers there are Persian carpets, Murano glass, Toledo steel and Japanese electronics.

Should all these reputations be protected by law and if so how? This book “The Law of Geographical Inidications” addresses these questions. The book examines what names can and cannot be protected in national and international law and the nature of the protection given.

In the last years there has been a rapid expansion of the protection given to geographical indications. The book looks at the specific systems adopted in some countries and the general systems in others.

Protection is most developed in Europe and specific attention is given to the rules in the European Union and the bilateral agreements the EU has forged with many third countries. The book also examines protection in international law from the 1883 Paris Convention on the protection of intellectual properety in general to the more recent TRIPs Agreement in the WTO.

Also examined are the two most controversial legal issues surrounding the protection of geographical indications, namely, conflicts between trademarks and geographical indications and the generic character of certain names.

The purpose of this book is to set out the law in a clear fashion accessible equally to the lay reader and the lawyer. It is not intended as a guide as to how current debates (or disputes) are likely to be resolved. Rather, it is a guide to national and international law as it currently stands.

The book addresses a number of issues for the future in relation to agricultural products: the current discussions within the Doha Round of trade negotiations on completing the international register and the extension of the additional protection given to wines and spirits to other products. Both of these debates are in effect extensions of the current protection granted under the TRIPs Agreement.

Finally, the book underlines the important linkage between geographical indications and developing countries where interest corresponds to the protection of traditional knowledge.

This book will be useful for product and marketing managers, students, lawyers, academics and administrators. In the European Community alone there are more than 30,000 producers of goods using protected georgaphical origin names. More and more producers elsewhere and in particular in the United States are joining them.

ISBN 10: 1 874698 99 6

ISBN 13: 978 1 874698 99 9

• Hardback • 501pp • 2004 • £125.00