Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications
September 6 to 8, 2021 - Virtual mode

Every two years, the Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications (GIs) brings together representatives of national administrations, producers of GI products and GI specialists.

The Symposium provides a forum for exchanging ideas and perspectives on issues relating to the use and protection of geographical indications. It also offers technical insights and information on recent developments in the field.

Video on demand| Meeting documents | News


Virtual Exhibition on Geographical Indications (archived)

The online exhibition, was held from September 6, 2021 to July 31, 2022, and offered visitors the option to discover products from around the world – 39 member states and two intergovernmental organizations - whose quality and reputation are due to their geographic origin.

Archived version


The live discussions will address the various legal, technical, commercialization and political issues relating to geographical indications, as well as offering an informal platform to discuss those issues.  The discussions will cover:

  • Selected International Developments
  • The Socio-economic Impact of Geographical Indications
  • Commercialization Strategies for Geographical Indications
  • Geographical Indications and Trade
  • Geographical Indications and Sustainability
  • Challenges for Geographical Indications and the Internet Domain Name System

The virtual Symposium is combined with a virtual exhibition on geographical indications, accessible on September 6, 2021 for a period of 6 months.  The exhibition will provide an introduction to geographical indications (policy objectives, legal protection, trade aspects, consumer protection aspects, branding) and will illustrate how they work through examples relating to different types of products from Member States around the world.

Day one: Monday, September 6, 2021

11.40 Online connection to the Symposium

Opening address (12.00 – 12.20)

Opening remarks:
Daren Tang

WIPO Director General

12.20 - 12.30 Break

12.30 - 13.40 Selected International Developments

The approach to the legal protection of geographical indications varies depending on the national, regional or international context in which they are developed and used.  There is continuing development of proactive regulation and protection schemes for geographical indications.  This panel will review some of those developments in selected jurisdictions and at the multilateral level.

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Francis Fay
Head, Unit Geographical Indications, Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, Brussels
Speaker: Alexandra Grazioli
Director, Lisbon Registry, Department for Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications, Brands and Designs Sector, WIPO
Suelen Carls
Visiting Professor, University of Marília (Unimar), Marília, Brazil
Li Yue
Expert, Intellectual Property Protection Department, China National Intellectual Property Administration(CNIPA), Beijing

13.40 - 13.50 Break

13.50 - 15.00 The Socio-economic Impact of Geographical Indications

Geographical indications are policy tools that can be used to achieve various objectives – economic, social and cultural.  The panel will offer an opportunity to discuss the impact of GI policies on producers, communities and consumers and review one of the most complete economic studies published to date on the economic value of geographical indications.

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Intan Hamdan-Livramento
Economic Officer, Innovation Economy Section, Department for Economics and Data Analytics, IP and Innovation Ecosystems Sector, WIPO
Speaker: Tanguy Chever
Consultant, AND International, Paris
Alexander Parra Peña
Attorney, Artesanías de Colombia, Bogotá
Hazel Moir
Adjunct Associate Professor, Centre for European Studies (CES), Australian National University (ANU), Canberra
Reto Meili
Project Coordinator, International Cooperation Division, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), Bern

Day two: Tuesday, September 7, 2021

11.40  Online connection to the Symposium

12.00 - 13.15 Commercialization Strategies for Geographical Indications

Geographical indication protection is often adopted for certain products out of a perceived need to organize producers and to improve and enforce the quality of the products marketed under a geographical indication.  But commercial success does not come automatically with the adoption of a protection scheme.  How does branding of geographical indication products have to look like in order to attract commercial success? 

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Pilar Montero
Commercial Law Professor, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain
Speaker: Paola Andrea Romero Torres
Member of the Geographical Indications Committee, International Trademark Association (INTA), Bogotá
Margalita Avkopashvili
Brother’s Cellars, Bolnisi, Georgia
Khalid Rahel
Head, Research and Development Quality Division, Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts, Air Transport and Social Economy, Rabat  

13.15 - 13.30 Break

13.30 - 15.00 Geographical Indications and Trade

Products bearing geographical indications are often traded across borders.  As for all intangible goods, this comes along with a number of challenges for producers, traders and consumers alike.  Special provisions for trade in geographical indications products have featured for a long time in international bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements and not at least in the WTO TRIPS Agreement.  This panel will offer an outlook on most recent developments in this area, including an opportunity for presenting arguments against the use of geographical names as geographical indications in markets where there is an ex ante use of such indications as generic product descriptions.  

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Tony Taubman
Director, Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division, World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva
Speaker: Irene Calboli
Academic Fellow and Visiting Professor, Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore
Maximiliano Santa Cruz
Director, Santa Cruz IP, Santiago de Chile
Shawna Morris
Senior Director, Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN), Arlington, Virginia, United States of America

Day three: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

11.40  Online connection to the Symposium

12.00 - 13.15 Geographical Indications and Sustainability

As already discussed by a previous Panel, geographical indications can support a variety of policy objectives.  Against the background of recent developments, such as global warming and climate change, the question of sustainable production of all types of products gains increasingly prominence.  This Panel will review some concrete cases.

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Massimo Vittori
Managing Director, Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network (oriGIn), Geneva
Speaker: Pape-Tahirou Kanouté
Agricultural Economist, ETDS (Économie Territoires et Développement Services), Ziguinchor, Senegal
Dirk Troskie
Director, Business Planning and Strategy, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Elsenburg, South Africa
Miranda Risang Ayu Palar
Head, Intellectual Property Center on Regulation and Application Studies, Faculty of Law, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia

13.15 -13.30 Break

13.30 - 14.45 Challenges for Geographical Indications and the Internet Domain Name System

Ever since the explosion of the use of the Internet, the number of registered domain names is on the up.  In 2019, the company Verisign estimated the existence of a total of 460 million registered domain names.  The registration of domain names is not always free of conflict and domain name registration policies protect proprietary or personality interests in all sorts of names.  Most prominently, the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) of the Internet Cooperation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) offers a protection mechanism against bad faith registrations of trademarks as domain names.  However, the UDRP is not applicable to sui generis geographical indications, a fact that has given rise to abundant discussion.  The Panel will review the current state of affairs.

Moderator and panelists

Moderator: Heather Forrest
Senior Researcher (Adjunct), University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
Speaker: John D. Rodriguez
Attorney-Advisor (Trademarks), Office of Policy and International Affairs (OPIA), United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Alexandria, Virginia, United States of America
Delia Belciu
Chair, Data Committee, European Communities Trademark Association (ECTA), Brussels
Manal Ismail
Chair, Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Cairo

14.45 – 15.00 Closing remarks

Wang Binying
Deputy Director General, Brands and Designs Sector, WIPO