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GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS Is the only Champagne French Champagne? Erik W. Ibele Neider & Boucher, S.C./UW Law School.

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Presentation on theme: "GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS Is the only Champagne French Champagne? Erik W. Ibele Neider & Boucher, S.C./UW Law School."— Presentation transcript:

1 GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS Is the only Champagne French Champagne? Erik W. Ibele Neider & Boucher, S.C./UW Law School

2 What are geographical indications? Link a product to a particular region Indicate qualities, attributes, reputation associated with geographic origin Suggest connection to region’s inherent characteristics (e.g., soil, climate, terrior) May also imply production skills/processes associated with region

3 Examples of geographical indications ColumbiaColumbian coffee IndiaBasmati (rice) GreeceOuzo (spirit) FranceChampagne (sparkling wine), Roquefort (cheese) MexicoTequila (spirit) ItalyParma ham SwitzerlandEtivaz, Gruyere (cheese) PortugalPort (wine)

4 Geographical indications and trademarks GIs are closely related to trademarks; both indicate product origin GIs and trademarks differ in two ways: 1.A trademark belongs to a particular company; it distinguishes that company’s products. GIs are shared by all producers in the region identified by the GI. 2.GIs attach to a location; trademarks don’t.

5 Territorial nature of GIs, Trademarks GI, Trademark protection is territorial International measures –multilateral agreements (Paris, Madrid) –national laws (Section 44, Trademark Act) –regional application mechanisms Registration procedures, protection a function of national law

6 Why are geographical indications valuable? GIs are a marketing tool Reputation for quality associated with place name used on labels, advertising GI-identified products are believed to command higher prices Of particular interest to developing countries

7 What’s the controversy? Consumer vs. producer interests Long-time, generic use of expressions that have geographic origins (parmesan) Differing national treatment of GIs -weaker: (Canada, US) “Canadian Champagne;” “American-made Pecorino cheese” -stronger: (EU) GI use reserved to producers in the region, even if other origin is indicated

8 International GI protection: WTO/TRIPS Agreement Members obligated to prevent use of GIs by nonoriginal producers so as to mislead as to product origin, or constitute competition Higher level of protection for wines, spirits Exceptions: (i)GIs used prior to TRIPS Agreement (ii) GIs that have become part of common usage

9 International GI protection: bilateral agreements EU agreements for wines, spirits with Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, South Africa. EU-US Agreemetn on Trade in Wines (2005) –US to limit use of semi-generic names –current use “grandfathered” –greater US access to EU wine market

10 GIs in the WTO Doha Development Round ( ) Establishment of multilateral system for registration of geographical indications Extension of higher level of protection to products other than wines, spirits “claw back” of certain GIs EU agenda

11 Multilateral GI register Scope of coverage: only wines and spirits vs. additional products Legal effect of registered GIs: legal presumption of protection and obligation to protect GIs vs. advisory function of register Legal effect in nonparticipating countries

12 Extension of higher level of protection for GIs Procedural issues under WTO treaty Developing country interests –India, Kenya, Thailand –have non-wine/spirit GIs New World producers Pragmatic arguments –consumer choice –existing level of protection sufficient

13 EU “ Claw-back ” proposal Would prohibit use of GIs by nonoriginal producers worldwide Examples: Gorgonzola, Parmigiano Reggiano, Roquefort Many GIs have become generic in certain countries Doha Ministerial Declaration procedure dispute

14 Current status of GI discussion Failure of Doha Development Agenda –larger agricultural issues remain unresolved Post-crash perspective –many GI products are luxury goods –reduction in consumer spending –limited development budgets GIs and sustainable development


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