The CIPP presents: Rosemary Coombe, “Geographical indications in new contexts: In new contexts : The promise, perils and politics of protecting PL

McGill’s Centre for Intellectual Property Policy presents Professor Rosemary Coombe of York University ( on “Geographical Indications in New Contexts: The Promise, Perils and Politics of Protecting Place-Based Products”.

Abstract: “Geographical indications (GIs) are increasingly promoted as a means to protect the livelihoods of rural farmers and serve local and indigenous development needs. States, international institutions, NGOs and development agencies advocate the use of GI protections to promote a form of development that will ensure community security and environmental sustainability while safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. We situate the development of GIs historically and explore the political and economic conditions in which a renewed interest in the use of GIs for rural development and indigenous community aspirations has recently emerged. GIs are promoted through use of a rhetoric that represents a holistic ‘community’ having a singular tradition, deriving from a singular culture, rooted in a singular place, with its own naturally distinctive ecosystem which it stewards as resources for the future. We call this the ‘social imaginary’ of GI protections and caution against its literalization. While GIs may serve such laudable objectives, positive social outcomes are not guaranteed, nor are benefits from their use necessarily distributed equally. Historically, they have figured in a politics of privileging elites, reifying cultural traditions and legitimating particular power relations. Focusing on numerous examples, we explore the promise and the perils of using GIs to achieve development objectives and urge consideration of a rights-based framework for their implementation.”

Professor Coombe is a Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication, and Culture, and a leading thinker on the intersection of intellectual property and political thought. If you’re interested in IP and international development, this is not to be missed!

Delicious lunch and refreshments will be served!
Cet événement est gratuit pour le public, mais les avocats sollicitant une accréditation par le Barreau du Québec (1.5 cr) devront débourser 30$ à l’entrée.

This content has been updated on March 10, 2016 at 15:11.