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Archived updates for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Socio-Economics of Geographical Indications

With a view to providing developing country policy makers with some concrete insight into the welfare potential of geographical indications (GIs), this study reviews the empirical evidence from European countries with respect to the socio-economic implications of the protection of GIs. The paper first provides for an overview of the economic rationale behind the protection of trademarks, which in certain respects are similar to GIs. It then turns to GIs, explaining the economic principles of their protection and their key functions of promoting rural development and protecting provenance and indigenous knowledge. In the main part of the paper, concrete examples of GIs are given to illustrate European experiences, in particular with respect to the organisation and governance of supply chains as well as the definition, promotion and marketing of GI products. In a final assessment of the economic opportunities offered by GIs, the paper concludes in a rather positive tone, highlighting however the multitude of factors that need to be mobilized to realize the potential of GIs. In this respect, "intellectual property rights (IPRs) are an important, but not the only element in economically successful GIs operation."
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