Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law
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Intellectual Property in Common Law and Civil Law

Edited by Toshiko Takenaka

Drawing together the views and experiences of scholars and lawyers from the United States, Europe and Asia, this book examines how different characteristics embedded in national IP systems stem from differences in the fundamental legal principles of the two traditions. It questions whether these elements are destined to remain diverged, and tries to identify common ground that might facilitate a form of harmonization.
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Chapter 12: A comparative analysis of the protection of geographical indications in the European Union and the United States under sui generis and trademark systems

Gail E. Evans


As a form of intellectual property the geographical indication (GI) is distinguished by its variety of form and complex character, being so embedded in the legal cultures of civil and common law systems, that continued international harmonization is proving an exceptionally difficult task. The definition within the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 1994 remains the most successful attempt yet to harmonize the variety of definitions which represent the various ways in which GIs are protected under national laws. Significant among these is the sui generis system of the EU on the one hand; and the trademark system of the US on the other. The well-known designations ‘Feta’ cheese and ‘Washington’ apples are but two examples of geographical indications utilized by producers from the EU and the United States to differentiate agricultural commodities based on a linkage of origin with quality.

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