The French wine industry in crisis: Is it a case of intellectual property rights gone too far?
Brown, Vanessa L
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The benefits of implementing intellectual property rights (IPRs) are debated internationally at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as between nations. Often the debate is split between developed countries promoting IPRs, and developing nations questioning the consequences of implementing them. Developed countries like the United States and the European Union nations, have contended implementing stricter IPRs will lead to innovation but in reality their have been no definitive studies proving this is the case. This study plans to show that when IPRs are implemented too strictly they do not lead to innovation but instead can have negative consequences for domestic industries. The French wine industry was chosen as a case study, since it is the origin of a type of intellectual property protection called geographical indications (GI). A strict GI system called the Appellation d'Origine Contrôllée was implemented 70 years ago resulting in negative consequences for French wines. This study provides a specific example from the developed world, where the theorized innovation associated with stricter IPRs did not occur. Finally, this study contends IPRs have become a political topic as they affect international relations, trade treaty provisions, and accession to international organizations like the WTO.