Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules
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Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules

Intellectual Property in the WTO Volume I

Edited by Carlos M. Correa

This comprehensive Handbook provides an in-depth analysis of the origin and main substantive provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, the most influential international treaty on intellectual property currently in force.
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Chapter 15: No ‘Lemons’ No More: A Sketch on the ‘Economics’ of Geographical Indications

Dwijen Rangnekar


Dwijen Rangnekar Introduction One of the most recent entrants into the growing pantheon of intellectual property rights (IPRs), Geographical Indications (GIs), continues to raise deeply fundamental questions. At one end of the spectrum are those who question their very legitimacy as IPRs (Stern 2007). In contrast, there are others who see in GIs a variety of normative possibilities like valorising the rights (actually, products) of rural communities, indigenous groups and holders of traditional knowledge (Bérard and Marchenay 1996). Even in terms of the relationship between its closest family members in the pantheon, trademarks, there are those who seek a departure from the ‘language of trumps’, and read in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute1 on this matter a nuanced approach towards the legitimate possibility of co-existence (Gangjee 2007). The negotiations on GIs speak to some to some of these concerns as well – and go well beyond.2 It is also the case that GIs are increasingly figuring in other forums as well, such as at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in terms of commodity prices, petty agriculture producers, at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as one amongst other instruments to protect traditional knowledge and also at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in terms of biopiracy. GIs are often presented with these multiple policy objectives, including: protecting the environment, promoting sustainable development, securing rural livelihoods, protecting and rewarding holders of traditional knowledge and developing niche markets. It is in this growing terrain about GIs that the chapter seeks...

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