Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Christophe Geiger

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property is a comprehensive reference work on the intersection of human rights and intellectual property law. Resulting from a field-specific expertise of over 40 scholars and professionals of world renown, the book explores the practical and doctrinal implications of human rights on intellectual property law and jurisprudence. In particular, the chapters scrutinize issues related to interactions among and between norms of different legal families, the role of human rights in development of the balanced intellectual property legal framework, standing case-law of national and regional courts and intellectual property offices reconciling overlapping rights and obligations, and identify the practical significance of different human rights for the exercise of intellectual property rights.

Chapter 29: Geographical indications and cultural rights: The intangible cultural heritage connection?

Dev S. Gangjee

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, intellectual property law


Can the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) – signs which indicate the regional provenance of products such as Prosciutto di Parma, Darjeeling and Cognac – be integrated within a cultural rights framework? Since there has been recent interest in GIs as a potential vector for achieving cultural heritage goals, this suggests an affinity with cultural rights. To develop this line of enquiry, this chapter focuses on two threshold issues: (1) To what extent can the notion of cultural heritage act as a bridge or link between GI and cultural rights protection paradigms? (2) Alternatively, moving beyond a conventional human rights framework, are there parallels between GIs and the notion of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) – as recognised in international legal instruments by UNESCO in particular – which could be more fruitfully developed? In response, Section 2 outlines the basis for the legal protection of GIs and its potential to accommodate cultural heritage policy agendas. It has been suggested that GI protection facilitates the recognition of regional or national cultural heritage. By way of an illustration, the legal protection of wine appellations such as Champagne or Rioja in turn sustains the historic landscapes, architectural features as well as traditional production practices associated with vineyards. Appellation protection allows for ‘place branding’ and where this is successful, traditional local occupations, modes of production and networks of social relations for rural communities are better supported. Once a cultural heritage component to GI protection is identified, this suggests that GIs could potentially be accommodated by cultural rights, within a human rights framework.

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