Emerging Issues for Geographical Indication Branding Strategies
Branding strategies centering on the geographical origins of a product can provide a basis for differentiating commodity products. The use of such "geographical indications" (or GIs) can involve unique quality characteristics associated with a particular location or quality images that are based on the history, tradition, and folklore in a region. In this paper we describe the benefits and pitfalls (such as the threat of new entrants, oversupply, the broadening of boundaries to include more producers, and limiting generic use of such names) of using GI branding strategies. We also focus on trademark issues germane to a company's ability to (1) adopt GI-based trademarks as a means of gaining a competitive advantage and (2) protect the rights associated with such marks in order to sustain this source of competitive advantage.