The Protection of Geographical Indications

The Protection of Geographical Indications

Law and Practice

Elgar Intellectual Property Law and Practice series

Michael Blakeney

Geographical indications, or marks designating a product’s place of origin, are of huge economic value, and the laws designed to police and protect such designations are increasingly important and under scrutiny. This book is one of the first to offer a comprehensive and detailed examination of the European laws concerning the protection of geographical indications, and the application of those laws. Systematic attention is paid to the categories of geographical indication, including chapters on agricultural products and foodstuffs, wines, and spirits. Consideration is also given to enforcement mechanisms and the influence of the relevant provisions of the TRIPS agreement.


Michael Blakeney

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law, law -professional, intellectual property law


The GIs provisions of the TRIPS Agreement were anticipated as early as the 1883 Paris Convention on Industrial Property, which, as will be seen below imposed merely general obligations in relation to ‘indications of source or appellations of origin’ which were undefined terms. The Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source of Goods 1891, which was enacted as a special treaty under the Paris Convention, contained more specific obligations, but it was not until the Lisbon Agreement on the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration 1958 that at least appellations of origin were defined and elements of this definition were carried forward into the definition of GIs in the TRIPS Agreement. Prior to the Lisbon Agreement, the 1951 Stresa Convention proposed a system for the protection of appellations of origin and designations for cheeses contained in an annex to the Convention. The Lisbon Agreement, by way of contrast, envisaged protection of appellations of origin by their registration. The TRIPS Agreement did not prescribe a preferred method for the protection of GIs but leaves this to signatories to decide. The possible establishment of a system for the registration of GIs was left to subsequent negotiation and as will be seen below, after more than 15 years of deliberations, the TRIPS signatories have yet to reach agreement on this subject.

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