TRIPs Agreement: Geographical indications

Author (Person)
Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2000
ISBN 92-828-5208-3
EC CN-16-98-855-EN-C
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The protection of geographical indications constitutes an area of intellectual property rights, which is, both for historical and economic reasons, of particular importance for the European Community and its Member States. Geographical indications play a crucial role for European industry and consumers in the area of foodstuffs. TheseĀ are characterised by the link between the product and a given quality, reputation or other characteristic, which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

Geographical indications differ from other intellectual property rights in so far as they do not involve acts of creation or invention as in the copyright or patent field. However, the establishment of a geographical indication typically requires, as in other fields of international property rights (IPRs), significant human and economic investment and therefore deserves specific protection.

It is thus not surprising that the protection of geographical indications also has a long history at international level. The successful conclusion of Uruguay Round negotiations in December 1993 secured a considerable step forward in relation to the protection of geographical indications: the TRIPs (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement contains a specific section on geographical indications in Articles 22-24.

This publication aims at giving economic operators and other interested parties an insight into the implications of the TRIPs provisions for the protection of geographical indications.

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