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The Intellectual Property Debate

Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy

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.
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Chapter 15: Geographical Indications and TRIPs

Michael Blakeney


Michael Blakeney THE TRIPS REGIME The inclusion of geographical indications as part of the minimum IP standards prescribed for WTO Members by the TRIPS agreement has been particularly problematic. Unlike the other categories of IP rights, the US and EU, the main proponents of the TRIPS agreement, were divided on this subject. This division has been reflected in the subsequent discussions in the TRIPS Council and has culminated in the request by the US and Australia, for Dispute Panels to consider whether the European regime for the protection of geographical indications, infringes TRIPS standards. At the same time divisions also exist among other developed countries and among developing countries. The TRIPS agreement provides a basic standard for the protection of geographic indications. Article 22 defines geographical indications as: ‘indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a Member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.’ Article 22.2 of the TRIPS agreement requires that Members ‘shall provide the legal means for interested parties to prevent the use by any means in the designation or presentation of a good that indicates that the good in question originates in a geographical area other than the true place of origin in a manner which misleads the public as to the geographical origin of goods’. The TRIPS agreement does not specify the legal means to protect geographical indications. This is left...

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