Table of Contents

The Intellectual Property Debate

The Intellectual Property Debate

Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy

New Horizons in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch

Intellectual property (IP) has become one of the most influential and controversial issues in today’s knowledge-based society. This challenging book exposes the reader to key issues at the heart of the public debate now taking place in the field of IP. It considers IP at the macro level where it affects many issues. These include: international trade policy, ownership of breakthrough technologies, foreign direct investment, innovation climates, public–private partnerships, competition rules and public health where it is strongly embedded in contemporary business decision making.

Chapter 17: Geographical Indications, Trade and the Functioning of Markets

Phil Evans

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, intellectual property, law - academic, intellectual property law


17. Geographic indications, trade and the functioning of markets Phil Evans The issue of the interface between food policy and trade policy has been an area fraught with controversy for some considerable time. While food safety issues and their possible misuse as barriers to legitimate trade have been with us since the onset of the GATT in the late 1940s, other food issues have begun to grow in importance. One of the most interesting, and contentious, issues is that of Geographic Indications. What is particularly interesting about the debate around GIs is that almost all the main protagonists in the argument have some form of protection for them, but none agree about how far they should go, or perhaps more importantly how they should affect trade. It would not appear to be a debate about principle but rather of degree. What is also interesting is the degree to which the debate has avoided discussion of competition issues in agricultural markets. This is, in part, because of historical provisions excluding many agricultural markets from competition overview, most notably in the EU. The role of the Common Agricultural Policy and general ‘exception’ afforded agriculture in competition law is neither new nor surprising. It should be remembered that competition policy in its modern form first emerged in the USA, Canada and Australia as a rural revolt against urban ‘trusts’ that were seen to be doing down the farm communities.1 This original rural revolt has affected the manner in which competition...

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