Australia Corked Its Champagne and So Should We: Enforcing Stricter Protections for Semi-Generic Wines in the United States
21 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 477 (2012)
41 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2012 Last revised: 27 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
Geographical Indications (“GIs”), a type of intellectual property rights, are distinctive signs that identify a product based on the geographical territory or region where the product originates. In practice, GIs are used as marketing tools to promote a particular region or in the consumer market to enhance credibility or grant awareness of a particular product’s origin. In recent years, GIs became effective marketing tools in a global economy, especially with respect to wine products.
European winemakers classify their wines using appellations of origin, a system that establishes nomenclature according to the geographical location where the grapes of each wine product originate. Accordingly, the European Union advocates strong protection of GIs of wines and denounces wine products labelled with GIs that do not correspond with their geographical origin. Conversely, the United States and other non-European winemakers have stubbornly taken a less rigid posture towards global and national GI protection of wines. In September 2010, the disparity between non-European and European winemakers gained additional attention when Australia ratified an agreement (2008 Wine Trade Agreement Between Australia and the European Communities) that creates stricter legal protection for European wines and prohibits Australian wine products from using semi-generic wine names originating in the European Union, including Champagne.
Presently, the United States does not have a wine trade agreement with the European Union that sufficiently protects the semi-generic wine names of foreign wine products from production in the United States. This Note argues that the United States should adopt a heightened system of GI protection for semi-generic wine products to halt the continued dilution of semi-generic wine product names in the international consumer wine market.
Keywords: wine, wine trade, wine law, wine legislation, transnational wine trade law, transnational wine trade, international wine law, geographical indications, TRIPs Agreement, intellectual property, food law, Australia, European Union, United States
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