Geographical Indications: A Discussion on the TRIPS Regulation after the Ministerial Conference of Hong Kong

62 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2011

Date Written: June 1, 2007


For many producers and consumers, geographical indications (GIs) are more than mere economic tools as in many cases they also represent the historical and social identity of particular communities located in a particular territory. However, other interested producers and consumers, because of differing historical and economic backgrounds, do not share the same understanding of GIs and, to a certain extent, consider their protection as a form of unjustified protectionism.

This paper presents a study of the international regulation of GIs on products. The purpose of this research is to understand the level of protection that this kind of identifier should receive in order to protect consumers against increasing research costs and balance the promotion of high quality products with the needs of a competitive global market.

Despite the recognition of the existence of other significant factors involved in the investigation of this topic, I developed this research through an economic approach, which allowed me to understand the problems underlying the international negotiations on GIs in a more dispassionate manner. I concluded that given the absence of a more efficient alternative, the adoption of a multilateral register for wine and spirits is required. The extension of TRIPS art.23 to products other than wine and spirits should be warranted only in the presence of a strong economic justification. Finally, the EU request to regain the exclusive use of certain GIs should be rejected, as this initiative is not supported by any legitimate basis.

Keywords: Geographical Indications, TRIPS, International Negotiations, Doha Declaration, Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K29

Suggested Citation

Fusco, Stefania, Geographical Indications: A Discussion on the TRIPS Regulation after the Ministerial Conference of Hong Kong (June 1, 2007). Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review, Vol. 12, No. 197, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Stefania Fusco (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

1100 Eck Hall of Law
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States
(312) 961-2955 (Phone)


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