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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 16: The Treatment of Geographical Indications in Recent Regional and Bilateral Free Trade Agreements

David Vivas Eugui and Christoph Spennemann


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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