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Journal Article

The Role Played by the US Government in Protecting Geographical Indications


Zappalaglio,  Andrea
MPI for Innovation and Competition, Max Planck Society;

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Le Goffic, C., & Zappalaglio, A. (2017). The Role Played by the US Government in Protecting Geographical Indications. World Development, 98, 35-44. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.08.017.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-87DB-F
Unlike what is usually thought, the US public institutions play a crucial role in the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs), as trademarks or as AVAs appellations of origin for wines, to guarantee that all legitimate operators have the right to use GIs. Although the US institutions and scholars have often criticized the EU sui generis GI regime, practice shows that the two systems have much more in common than what emerges superficially. Indeed, in the US several collective marks aimed at protecting indications of geographical origin are managed and funded by public bodies or agencies. Furthermore, the US practice often procedurally recalls the European regime of GI protection and, in general, the overall development of the US system shows that it is heading toward a regime that is at least very compatible with, if not similar to, the EU one. Finally, concepts such as “terroir”, that is one of the theoretical pillars of the French–European GI regime, are increasingly accepted in the US context as well. Therefore, the analysis conducted shows how the practical aspects of the management of GIs in the US contrasts with the traditional narrative according to which GI protection in the US, guaranteed by trademarks, the self-regulated system of private law, and the European administrative-based system are substantively different and irreconcilable.