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CSGR 10th Annual Conference - Sessions on "Geographical Indications: Law, Justice and the Search for Authenticity"

Geographical indications are remarkably different from other instruments of intellectual property rights. They reward the past and seek to valorise long established cultural repertoires rather than promote contemporary innovation and inventive activity. In the global arena at the World Trade Organisation, this is one area where a sizeable number of members from the Global South are demandeurs for stronger protection. Even as ‘geography’ has been long used as a means to distinguish goods and indicate specific qualities, the specific intellectual property right is relatively new. Thus, the law remains unsettled and the legal means to protect geographical indications vary substantially between jurisdictions. This remains another remarkable difference in comparison to patents, copyright and trademarks.

An important feature of a geographical indication is its role in conveying origin and distinctive quality to the consumer. Much like any other appellation be they brands or certification marks, geographical indications are intimately linked to notions of trust and authenticity. Moreover, as many geographical indications exist for food and cultural items, they constitute key elements of our consumptive identities. In an increasingly globalised world, geographical indications become beacons lighting up distinctive products in globally elongated supply chains; thus, particularly useful for globally (and culturally) distant consumers. By linking goods to particular territories, geographical indications – like other socially constructed appellations (e.g. no sweat-shop, organic, fair trade) – stand in opposition to the dominant paradigm in agrifood regimes which is predicated on de-territorialised and homogenised products.

As part of CSGR’s 10th annual conference, papers are invited to address these different themes and ironies concerning geographical indications. Conference support funds may be available for some paper presenters.

Panel organiser: Dwijen Rangnekar (CSGR/Law, University of Warwick); d.rangnekar@warwick.ac.uk

Abstracts submitted: 30th April 2007

Final Selection: 15th June 2007 Papers due: 30th August 2007