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Geographical Indications and Protection of Traditional Knowledge Exploring Case Studies from both Developed and Developing Countries
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Accounting and Law.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8611-0072
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many studies suggest that geographical indications (GIs) and designations of origin (DOs) can contribute to the preservation and transfer of traditional knowledge and know-how. In particular, GIs and DOs have been identified as a potential tool to enhance local control over resources and promote the conservation of natural and cultural values. GIs and DOs do not only protect practices associated with food production, but they also make these knowledge and practice elements publicly available. In fact – contrary to other intellectual property rights – GOs allow for collective ownership. They are also associated both to cultural practices and geographic sites, thus supporting the values built on traditional knowledge. As a consequence, the legal recognition of GIs and GOs can provide an institutional tool for fostering knowledge-based products. In addition, the relevance of GOs for protecting traditional knowledge can be observed not only in advanced economies but also in developing countries. Starting from these considerations, the paper looks at the use of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs in an attempt to determine whether they are an effective instruments of community governance. The article analyzes concrete examples to illustrate how this particular intellectual property regime on “collective rights” can be used to protect traditional knowledge or to prevent its misappropriation. In particular, the investigation focuses on how knowledge embedded in geographical indicators may provide and enhance shared knowledge assets.

The methodological approach involves the analysis of case studies, texts produced by government and regulatory institutions as well as by judicial authorities. In particular, the subject matter will be discussed and analyzed by using the following methodologies: doctrinal research, interdisciplinary legal research and comparative method. Uncertain or ambiguous legal ruling will be also interpreted observing the proper institutional or social context. This process will involve an evaluation of the effectiveness of GIs legislation in achieving specific social goals as well as an examination of the extent to which it is being complied with. The objective of this paper is to reflect on the use of geographical indication as a complementary instrument for the implementation of the transfer of knowledge and know-how to communities. It also aim to develop the concept of GOs as a form of "collective ownership" based on know-how and useful for a local community.

Geographical Indications are usually seen as intellectual property protection mechanisms and treated likewise. This paper is intended to highlight that they do not only protect marks, symbols, connected to geography of origin but they also protect public knowledge assets and expressions of culture which are typically passed down through generations, and have a strong relationship with the territory. This argumentation is still not well- developed, thus leaving space for further investigation and fact-finding. Therefore, significance of this investigation for knowledge commons research lies in its contribution to a better understanding of the various conceptual elements and strategies to access, protect and use forms of common knowledge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
intellectual property law, intellectual property, geographical indications, traditional knowledge, know how
National Category
Law
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28178OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-28178DiVA: diva2:861495
Conference
34th Annual Congress of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property, Cape Town, September 27-30, 2015.
Available from: 2015-10-16 Created: 2015-10-16 Last updated: 2015-10-30Bibliographically approved

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