Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Dev S. Gangjee
Chapter 11: A comparative analysis of GIs for handicrafts: the link to origin in culture as well as nature?
A Geographical Indication (GI) identifies a good as originating in a region, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristics of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin. This definition found in the WTO’s TRIPS Agreement recognises a very old concept: the existence of a link between a product and its place of origin. As embedded quality constructs, regional names have for centuries provided a tool for competitive positioning and the signalling of reputation. Besides concerns related to consumer and producer protection, GI protection supports territorial and rural development, biodiversity and traditional knowledge. However far we go back in history, this concept of products with regional reputations (that is origin products) applied to all types of products; for example to minerals (marble), art objects (bronze, ceramics, pottery or terracotta), textiles (silk), perfumes (incense) and processed agricultural products (honey). Such examples from ancient times suggest that the range of products that have acquired notoriety linked to their place of origin is in fact limitless. Nowadays, however, in some countries and more particularly in Europe, GIs are still limited to agricultural products and foodstuffs, as part of the Common agricultural policy, along with wines and spirits.
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