The Protection of Geographical Indications
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The Protection of Geographical Indications

Law and Practice

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.
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Michael Blakeney


Until recently, most of the attention paid to the exponential growth in the international trade in infringing products has been focused upon counterfeit pharmaceuticals, branded fashion products and various pirated copyright works. However, most products are capable of being imitated in industrial quantities and products protected by GIs, particularly wines and spirits, are no exception (see Zanzig, 2013). The TRIPS Agreement had directed criminal enforcement primarily against ‘cases of wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale’ and this focus was replicated in the EU in Council Regulation (EC)No 1383/2003 of 22 July 2003 concerning customs action against goods suspected of infringing certain IPRs and the measures to be taken against goods found to have infringed such rights. This Regulation has now been replaced by Regulation (EU) No 608/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property. The new Regulation includes in the definition of ‘counterfeit goods’: ‘goods which are subject of an action infringing a geographical indication and bear or are described by a name or term protected in respect of that geographical indication’. For various constitutional reasons, the EU has not yet been able to enact an instrument providing for criminal sanctions against IPR infringements, although the EU has participated in the negotiation of the Anti-counterfeitingTrade Agreement (ACTA), which contains a suite of such sanctions (see Blakeney, 2012). Whether the EU will introduce legislation to implement ACTA remains very much a political issue.

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