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Can Certain Intellectual Property Rights both Protect and Promote Unique Traditional Products and Cultural Heritage from Developing Countries for Economic Benefit? The Case of Georgia


  • Patrick Martens

    (Maastricht University)


This paper is focused on traditional products that include agricultural goods such as wines, spirits and cheeses as well as tangible and intangible cultural heritage and sometimes linked to the manufacture of the product. The aims are: firstly to assess the current context of International Economic Law (IEL) and how Georgia is using IEL legal frameworks to protect its traditional products and heritage; secondly, how effectively its own national treatment and policy environment are functioning; and finally, to make preliminary observations and arguments on the impact and potential of Intellectual Property (IP) systems, Geographical Indications (GIs), Traditional Knowledge (TK), Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE) and Genetic Resources (GR), on the economic development of regions and communities. The local-global dynamic of IEL is contrasted with Georgia‟s own economic and developmental realities. Against this backdrop, the question emerges as to whether the relevant Intellectual Property (IP) systems can not only provide the necessary „defensive‟ legal protection against misappropriation, misuse, theft and bio-piracy, but also support „positive protection‟ – meaning incentives and opportunities for technological innovation, entrepreneurial endeavor and community development. The main conclusion is that is that the positive aspects of protection need more policy development and action.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Martens, 2013. "Can Certain Intellectual Property Rights both Protect and Promote Unique Traditional Products and Cultural Heritage from Developing Countries for Economic Benefit? The Case of Georgia," Working Papers 2013/14, Maastricht School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:msm:wpaper:2013/14

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    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Cottier & Marion Panizzon, 2004. "Legal Perspectives On Traditional Knowledge: The Case For Intellectual Property Protection," Journal of International Economic Law, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 371-399, June.
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    More about this item


    Geographical Indications; Traditional Knowledge; Traditional Cultural Expressions; Genetic Resources; International Economic Law; defensive protection; positive protection;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations

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