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Geographical Indications: A result of European protectionism?

Lidgard, Ingrid (2009)
Department of Law
Abstract
This thesis addresses the legal protection afforded to a new separate branch of intellectual property law commonly referred to as geographical indications. Simply put a geographical indication is a label of origin designed to protect goods originating from a particular area with specific qualities connected to the region in question. Protection is granted for the whole region letting any company within the area make use of the protected name as long as it fulfils the stipulated criteria. A great deal of controversy surrounds this type of intellectual property. Although the TRIPs Agreement has solved some issues by defining the concept and trying to establish some common standards, much is yet left unresolved. Countries differ in their... (More)
This thesis addresses the legal protection afforded to a new separate branch of intellectual property law commonly referred to as geographical indications. Simply put a geographical indication is a label of origin designed to protect goods originating from a particular area with specific qualities connected to the region in question. Protection is granted for the whole region letting any company within the area make use of the protected name as long as it fulfils the stipulated criteria. A great deal of controversy surrounds this type of intellectual property. Although the TRIPs Agreement has solved some issues by defining the concept and trying to establish some common standards, much is yet left unresolved. Countries differ in their attitudes towards geographical indications depending to a large degree on their economic interests. The European Union has proved to be a strong force in promoting geographical indications, with countries such as France and Spain in the forefront. Countries with less strong cultural traditions in the agricultural sector are sceptical to the concept of geographical indications. The United States claim that the European Union's behaviour is protectionistic and has the effect of hindering free trade. The thesis focuses on the European Union and its attitude towards geographical indications. A geographical indication creates a right capable of restricting a country's exports and imports. This goes against the concept of ''free movement of goods'', one of the four freedoms establishing the internal market. Through analysing adopted regulations and the European Court of Justice's rulings, the conflict between the creation of internal market and geographical indications becomes apparent. The European Union has, through various regulations and directives created a strong form of protection for geographical indications. When interpreting the legal scope of the protection the ECJ has proved to be supportive of this intellectual property, choosing to protect it, thereby effectively restricting the free movement of goods. As discussed during the analysis, it can be argued that the ECJ is being overly protective, extending the scope of geographical indication protection too far. It has overstepped the boundaries by including translated names, non-essential stages of production and names that have become generic. In order to be successful in establishing a global system of protection, the EU will have to retrace some steps realising the importance of free movement of goods and accept that countries around the world have varying incentives. (Less)
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author
Lidgard, Ingrid
supervisor
organization
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EG-rätt, Immaterialrätt
language
English
id
1559567
date added to LUP
2010-03-08 15:55:24
date last changed
2010-03-08 15:55:24
@misc{1559567,
  abstract     = {This thesis addresses the legal protection afforded to a new separate branch of intellectual property law commonly referred to as geographical indications. Simply put a geographical indication is a label of origin designed to protect goods originating from a particular area with specific qualities connected to the region in question. Protection is granted for the whole region letting any company within the area make use of the protected name as long as it fulfils the stipulated criteria. A great deal of controversy surrounds this type of intellectual property. Although the TRIPs Agreement has solved some issues by defining the concept and trying to establish some common standards, much is yet left unresolved. Countries differ in their attitudes towards geographical indications depending to a large degree on their economic interests. The European Union has proved to be a strong force in promoting geographical indications, with countries such as France and Spain in the forefront. Countries with less strong cultural traditions in the agricultural sector are sceptical to the concept of geographical indications. The United States claim that the European Union's behaviour is protectionistic and has the effect of hindering free trade. The thesis focuses on the European Union and its attitude towards geographical indications. A geographical indication creates a right capable of restricting a country's exports and imports. This goes against the concept of ''free movement of goods'', one of the four freedoms establishing the internal market. Through analysing adopted regulations and the European Court of Justice's rulings, the conflict between the creation of internal market and geographical indications becomes apparent. The European Union has, through various regulations and directives created a strong form of protection for geographical indications. When interpreting the legal scope of the protection the ECJ has proved to be supportive of this intellectual property, choosing to protect it, thereby effectively restricting the free movement of goods. As discussed during the analysis, it can be argued that the ECJ is being overly protective, extending the scope of geographical indication protection too far. It has overstepped the boundaries by including translated names, non-essential stages of production and names that have become generic. In order to be successful in establishing a global system of protection, the EU will have to retrace some steps realising the importance of free movement of goods and accept that countries around the world have varying incentives.},
  author       = {Lidgard, Ingrid},
  keyword      = {EG-rätt,Immaterialrätt},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Geographical Indications: A result of European protectionism?},
  year         = {2009},
}