Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Geographical Indications
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Geographical Indications

Edited by Dev S. Gangjee

Provenance matters like never before. Legal regimes regulating the use of Geographical Indications (GIs) protect commercially valuable signs on products – such as Darjeeling and Champagne – which signal the link to their regions of origin. Such regimes have been controversial for over a century. A rich, interdisciplinary work of scholarship, this Research Handbook explores the reasons for and consequences of GIs existing as a distinct category within intellectual property (IP) law. Historians, geographers, sociologists, economists and anthropologists join IP specialists to explore the distinguishing feature of GIs, that certain products are distinctively linked or anchored to specific places.
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Chapter 13: Learning to love my PET – the long road to resolving conflicts between trade marks and Geographical Indications

Burkhart Goebel and Manuela Groeschl


The conflict between trade marks and Geographical Indications (GIs) has been a prominent, if not the most prominent, topic in the legislative, forensic and academic debate on GIs during the last 25 years. Unsurprisingly, it evolved largely in parallel to the rise of protection systems for GIs. The debate has been intense and often emotional. For the proponents of GI protection the mere possibility of a trade mark protected in one part of the world being identical or similar to a GI protected in another part of the world amounted to an onslaught on the cultural heritage of GI users, which undoubtedly deserved universal protection. For trade mark owners the hypothesis that a prior trade mark could be deprived of its exclusivity or – worse – be completely expropriated on the basis of a GI existing in another part of the world was seen as nothing but a blunt confiscation of valuable private property and an equally despicable onslaught on one of the major achievements of the French revolution, namely the protection of private property against arbitrary confiscation by the state.

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