The Protection of Geographical Indications after Doha: Quo Vadis?
Posted: 14 Aug 2006
During the last twenty years the international protection of geographical indications (GIs) has experienced a worldwide resurgence spurred by both the greater need and the additional opportunities offered by the global marketplace for the diversification of agricultural products and foodstuffs. The Doha Ministerial Declaration lends support to developing countries that are seeking forms of knowledge less than high technology that they have the capacity to exploit. June 2005 saw the European Communities submit a radical proposal, designed to also meet the needs of developing countries that would amend the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement in favour of a mandatory multilateral system of registration for all products. Yet, World Trade Organization (WTO) Members are as divided over their capacity to take advantage of GI protection no less than they are as to the means of regulation. To date, no ready solution to the further global harmonization of GIs has been found. This paper examines the two major regulatory models advanced by the European Union and the United States of America for the protection of GIs. In the light of the Doha Development Agenda, the authors argue in favour of an incremental approach that would allow developing countries the flexibility to adjust additional protection in accordance with their level of economic development.
Keywords: Geographical Indications, TRIPS Agreement, WTO, Doha Declaration
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