Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy
Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch
Chapter 16: The Treatment of Geographical Indications in Recent Regional and Bilateral Free Trade Agreements
David Vivas Eugui and Christoph Spennemann I. INTRODUCTION The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) represents an important step toward the universal recognition of geographical indications (GIs) protection. While previous agreements concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) including the Madrid1 and the Lisbon2 agreements have already regulated related legal ﬁgures such as indications of source and appellations of origin, the TRIPS agreement is today the standard subscribed to by all Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and therefore the one with widest international recognition. The TRIPS agreement contains some minimum standards for the protection of geographical indications, including deﬁnition, scope, legal means, exceptions and international negotiations. It is also important to mention that the TRIPS agreement is subject, as any other WTO agreement, to the dispute settlement understanding of the WTO, making its standards ‘enforceable’ among Members. GIs have been under the spotlight of international trade discussions since the adoption of the TRIPS agreement. These discussions have proved to be very controversial in the WTO as well as in other forums. Interestingly, unlike other cases such as discussion on public health there is not a North–South divide but diﬀerent groups of countries – inclusive of developed and developing countries alike – holding diﬀerent positions on several critical issues.3 This situation is the reﬂection of diﬀerent cultural settings, legal traditions, economic value attached to GIs and trademarks, implications of GIs for the protection of the local economy and...
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