Effects of the extension of geographical indications: a South Asian perspective
Geographical indications (GIs) associate names and places or production areas with products. They are distinctive signs that permit the identification of products on the market. GIs make it possible to add value to the natural riches of a country and to the skills of the population, and they give local products a distinguishable identity. If they are used in the proper way and are well protected, they can become an effective marketing tool of great economic value. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), which has more than 130 signatories, is the first international treaty to protect GIs through substantive provisions. In it, however, a clear distinction is made between the level of protection provided to wines and spirits and that provided to other products. Many countries, therefore, are actively working within the World Trade Organization to extend the existing protection that the Agreement grants to GIs for wines and spirits to GIs for all products. This paper is an attempt to analyse the issues relating to the scope extension of GIs under the TRIPS Agreement, especially with regard to South Asian countries. The paper argues that South Asian countries should equip their international property rights regimes to effectively protect the reputation of their geographical indications and their intrinsic qualities. In addition to the benefit of economies of scale, this would offer their products new opportunities in a competitive global market.
Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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