Immediately prior to the EPIP Conference (5–7 September 2018) the Australian National University’s Centre for European Studies (ANUCES) presented a workshop on Geographical Indications (GIs). The major focus of the workshop was presenting the results of a recent systematic review of all available empirical studies on the economic impact of GIs.
Agenda and participants
Audio: coming soon
The EU and the USA/Australia/New Zealand disagree substantially on GI policy for foods. The critical issues are whether foods should have strong–form (TRIPS Article 23) style protection, and whether names that have become generic can be re–claimed. This disagreement has been one factor in the lack of progress in the Doha Development Round. ANUCES is currently running a project, delivered with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, to identify the evidence base on the real–world impact of GI labelling. This project marshals and assesses the evidence as to the impact of GI policy in practice, in particular:
1) the size of the market for GI labelled foods and consumer willingness to pay;
2) whether producers are able to achieve a higher net income from the use of GIs; and
2) what are the GI impacts on rural and regional prosperity.
The scattered (and rather sparse) empirical research suggests that the impact of GIs on both producers and regional prosperity is variable and contingent. But it does identify key policy issues and major areas where there is insufficient empirical evidence to support policy development. The lead researchers, Áron Török and Hazel Moir, shared their findings in a participative workshop format that will allowed participants to contribute to refining the outcomes and sharing the knowledge generated by the project.
There were also two important secondary themes: While there is a tradition of terroir–based products in five European nations, elsewhere there is a more instrumental approach to GI policy. Thus in New World countries, European migrants have brought their traditions and cultures and as a result geographic names have morphed into generic names. The one other region where there seems to be a deep cultural understanding of the linkage between place and products is North–East Asia. Wenting Cheng presented results from a study of the nature and size of GI markets in north–east Asian countries.
A further critical issue in GI policy is the degree to which there is a genuine linkage between place and product. Particularly for PGI products, issues have been raised as to whether there is a sufficient nexus with place – indeed the German High Court has referred this matter to the European Court of Justice. Andrea Zappalaglio led a session on the link between product, place and reputation for registered PGIs. Among other issues this addressed the need for a clearer and narrower origin link in the field of PGIs because, as it was shown, the present provisions sometimes lead to controversial results.
This workshop was designed to share knowledge of the empirical material on the economic impact of GI labelling, drawing out policy implications and the priority research agenda for future research. It also covered GI markets in north-east Asia and processes for ensuring verifiable and objective evidence as to reputational links to place. While there were major presentations on these issues from invited speakers, there was slo substantial room for audience participation.
9 – 9.30am: Registration
9.30 – 10am: Welcome and introduction – Hazel Moir
10 – 11am: GI culture in North–East Asia – Wenting Cheng
11 – 11.30am: Morning tea
11.30am – 12.30pm: Linking product and place – Andrea Zappalaglio
12.30 – 1.30pm: Lunch
1.30 – 2pm: European Union experiences with GIs: market size and key GI names – Hazel Moir
2 – 3pm: GIs and producer prosperity and regional development: what is the evidence and what are the gaps? – Áron Török
3 – 3.30pm: Afternoon tea
3.30 – 4.30pm: Discussion of the evidence base on the economic impact of GIs – Workshop participants
4.30 – 5pm: Conclusions and priority research agenda – Hazel Moir
2018 Annual Conference of European Policy for Intellectual Property, 5–7 September
The 2018 Annual Conference of European Policy for Intellectual Property (EPIP) is being hosted by ESMT Berlin from 5 to 7 September. The conference will bring together scholars, stakeholders and policymakers for both theoretical, empirical and policy–oriented presentations and discussions. It will contain a special track of sessions around the topic ‘IP in a Data–driven Economy: New Challenges for Law, Economics and Social Sciences’, organised jointly with the Berlin based Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society – The German Internet Institute.
For more information on the EPIP conference, visit http://epip2018.org/