European Association of Agricultural Economists

Intellectual Property Rights for Geographical Indications: What is at stake in the TTIP?
14-15 April 2015
Department of Economics, University of Parma, Italy

Last updated: April 28, 2015
Two different organizations deal with the issue of protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for Geographical Indications (GIs) and are responsible for international agreements: WTO (World Trade Organization) and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).
WTO regulates GIs in the 1994 TRIPS Agreement. The TRIPS Agreement gives wines a high level of protection but leaves individual countries to draw up national GIs legislation for other agri-food products. WIPO implements the Lisbon Agreement of 1958 and gives GIs a high level of protection but involves a lower number of countries. Since US and EU have developed two different legislative approaches, IPR on GIs are a source of political and economic conflict among WTO countries. The US approach follows WTO and is based on existing trademarks and competition legislation, meanwhile EU legislation is partly based on the Lisbon Agreement and has a sui generis legislation, giving a high level of protection to agri-food GIs. There are significant differences in the EU and US positions in WTO negotiations given that regulations cover supply chains, consumer relations, environmental and cultural aspects as well as trade.
The official halt to the Doha Round of multilateral negotiations within WTO has led several member countries to conclude bilateral and regional agreements. The EU has recently reached a bilateral Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. It has also started trade negotiations with the US for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which covers IPR and GIs. This will impact on the EU and the US and all WTO members, and research is already focusing on the backgrounds of typical product valorisation and enhancement in the EU and the US. With the aim of gathering experiences and knowledge on the “GIs issue”, the EAAE Seminar will discuss topics related to: typical products and GIs in terms of IPR; domestic and international trade of GIs products; consumers preferences; sustainability of rural areas.
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