Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications

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.

The 2021 edition of the Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications will take place entirely in virtual mode due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


September 6 to 8, 2021

Virtual mode

Meeting documents

Launch of a virtual exhibition on September 6, 2021

On the occasion of the WIPO Worldwide Symposium on Geographical Indications a virtual exhibition will be launched on September 6, 2021. The exhibition will offer visitors an opportunity to discover WIPO’s work in the field of geographical indications, as well as examples of geographical indications from Member States around the world for different types of products


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
    Jaime Castaneda
    Executive 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