The Legal Protection of Geographical Indications in Ethiopia

MIPLC Master Thesis Series (2010/11)

70 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2012 Last revised: 23 Mar 2013


The legal protection of GIs has become an important concern of both developed and developing countries. Due to the flexibility in the TRIPs Agreement as to the modes of protection, diverse approaches have been adopted by several countries for the domestic protection of GIs. In Ethiopia, despite the existence of the need for the protection of GIs, the issue of GIs has not been given due attention. The legal protection of GIs has not been expressly regulated by any specific legislation. The existing collective trademark system cannot adequately encompass most GIs. It can accommodate most descriptive GIs only in so far as the requirement of distinctiveness under the law is dispensed with for registration of GIs as collective trademarks. Furthermore, the existing system needs to be redefined in light of the notion of GIs.

Accordingly, the first section of this thesis depicts an overview on the international and national protection of GIs. More importantly, the second section dwells on elaborating the legal protection of GIs under the existing trademark law and rules of unfair competition. In particular, it figures out the major pitfalls in the collective trademark system under the law. In view of the lacunae in the existing system, the subsequent section highlights the possible modifications to the existing collective trademark system for GIs in Ethiopia. It also shades a light on the pros and cons of the major possible systems for protection of GIs. The final section winds up the discussion with concluding remarks and recommendations to revisit the existing trademark law to ensure adequate protection of GIs in Ethiopia.

Based on academic quality and relevance of topic, this paper has been selected for inclusion in the 2010/11 Munich Intellectual Property Law Center (MIPLC) Master Thesis Series.

Keywords: MIPLC, Geographical Indications, Ethiopia, Trademark Law, Unfair Competition Law, Collective Trademarks, Certification Marks

Suggested Citation

Hirko, Sileshi Bedasie, The Legal Protection of Geographical Indications in Ethiopia. MIPLC Master Thesis Series (2010/11), Available at SSRN: or

Sileshi Bedasie Hirko (Contact Author)

Haramaya University College of Law ( email )

Haramaya University
Dire Dawa, 251-138

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