With their historic links to a specific region, GIs are increasingly valued for their endogenous development potential. But precisely what does legal recognition as a GI guarantee? Drawing on the EU's registration system as a model, this paper investigates the certification of provenance and authenticity by public authorities. Recent empirical findings reveal that considerable flexibility exists within the certification process, which permits the loosening of linkages to a region and dilutes the certification guarantee. The present over-reliance on the systems ability to certify could be usefully remedied if greater attention is paid to the individual product specification design.
Can the protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) signs which indicate the regional provenance of products such as Prosciutto di Parma, Darjeeling and Cognac be integrated within a cultural rights framework? Since there has been recent interest in GIs as a potential vector for achieving cultural heritage goals, this suggests an affinity with cultural rights. To develop this line of enquiry, this chapter focuses on two threshold issues: (1) To what extent can the notion of cultural heritage act as a bridge or link between GI and cultural rights protection paradigms? (2) Alternatively, moving beyond a conventional human rights framework, are there parallels between GIs and the notion of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) as recognised in international legal instruments by UNESCO in particular which could be more fruitfully developed?
This chapter contributes to a book on the image of the consumer in EU law by exploring the role of the average consumer in European trade mark law. There is in fact a variable concept of the consumer within European trade mark law and the chapter first sets itself the task of mapping these variations. We suggest that for structural reasons European trade mark law may be compelled to work with a differentiated concept of the consumer. However these variations should be approached relationally, with an awareness of the points of difference and their basis. In particular, we suggest that most efforts by courts to identify or construct consumers and the marketplace they inhabit are blended exercises that are part-empirical and part-normative. Explicitly recognising this blend will, we believe, enable a richer debate about the role played by the consumer in European trade mark law and the evidence or considerations to which courts might have regard. It also allows us to explore whether trade mark law in Europe ought either to achieve its own objectives or to contribute to the broader European project to adopt an approach to the consumer that is more empirically or normatively grounded as required by the legal context and whether different national courts are (despite different methodological traditions that survive European harmonisation) converging on a common approach to the trade mark consumer.
[Annual contribution] Formerly by S. Ramiah
The twin themes of this chapter are, first, the need for careful accommodation at the EU level of the diversity of Member State interests and concerns in the energy field ... and, second, the slow but real shift in EU (and some national) energy law and policy away from reliance upon market mechanisms and towards more complex regimes ... to achieve a myriad of public interest goals.