Appellations of Origin: The Continuing Controversey

Simon, Lori E. | January 1, 1983

Appellations of origin (appellations d’origine) are geographical denominations that indicate a product’s origin, as well as particular distinctive and renowned qualities associated with the location. Because of the singularity of these titles, the disparity in national laws, and the potential for infringement of the rights associated with the names, protection of appeallations of origin continues to be a controversial topic in international trade law. The debate over protection of appellations of origin primarily stems from conflicting national economic interests and divergent fundamental conceptions of the purpose of protecting trade names. It is entangled further by cultural, linguistic, and historical differences among nations. Most recently, with the upsurge in demands from the developing nations, the questions are becoming increasingly political. This comment compares the positions of the major parties to the controversy, represented by the United States, France, and developing nations, and highlights the potential benefits of increased United States protection, especially for the United States wine industry.