Edited by Dev S. Gangjee
Chapter 13: Learning to love my PET – the long road to resolving conflicts between trade marks and Geographical Indications
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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