Edited by Toshiko Takenaka
Chapter 12: A comparative analysis of the protection of geographical indications in the European Union and the United States under sui generis and trademark systems
As a form of intellectual property the geographical indication (GI) is distinguished by its variety of form and complex character, being so embedded in the legal cultures of civil and common law systems, that continued international harmonization is proving an exceptionally difficult task. The definition within the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 1994 remains the most successful attempt yet to harmonize the variety of definitions which represent the various ways in which GIs are protected under national laws. Significant among these is the sui generis system of the EU on the one hand; and the trademark system of the US on the other. The well-known designations ‘Feta’ cheese and ‘Washington’ apples are but two examples of geographical indications utilized by producers from the EU and the United States to differentiate agricultural commodities based on a linkage of origin with quality.
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