The Relationship Between Intellectual Property and Trade Through the Lens of Geographical Indications: The Journey Before, During and After the TRIPS Agreement

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This chapter addresses the relationship between intellectual property rights (IPRs) and trade through the lens of the international, and controversial, protection of geographical indications (GIs). This methodological choice—focusing on a specific IP topic instead of multiple rights—is not only due to the wording limitations of the chapter, but also to the fact that the international regulation of GIs well illustrates the changes, successes and challenges of the international IP system, at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels. In particular, this chapter recounts how the international system of GI protection developed across several periods. At first, GIs were protected at the multilateral level, but only by a small number of countries. Then, in the 1990s, the TRIPS Agreement included GIs into the global IP agenda. At the turn of the century, however, GI negotiations shifted—even more than other IPRs—to regional and bilateral FTAs. Still, multilateralism showed its resilience precisely with the revisions of a GI agreement, the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, in 2015. Ultimately, this chapter supports that the main take away of the journey across international GI protection is that the international IP landscape has become more complex and multilayered and the ‘new normal’ relationship between IPRs and trade is the co-existence and combination of multilateralism, bilateralism and regionalism.

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Oxford University Press


Daniel Bethlehem, Donald McRae, Rodney Neufeld, & Isabelle Van Damme

Book Title

The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law



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