The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) is the first significant multilateral agreement to expressly provide global protection to geographic indications (GIs) of wine. Although the United States is a party to this agreement, this Note argues that it has failed to bring domestic legislation in conformity with the mandates of the TRIPS Agreement regarding wine. While this has benefited many domestic vintners at the expense of their foreign counterparts, this Note also argues that the same failure may ultimately result in the exploitation of U.S. vintners as well. This point is illustrated by the current situation faced by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. Hongye Grape Wine Co., a winery in Beijing, has applied to register the GI “Napa Valley” as a trademark for use on wines that will be made from Chinese grapes and sold in China. Given the United States’ unwillingness to protect foreign GIs domestically, however, this Note concludes that in circumstances such as this, the United States cannot expect other countries to protect domestic GIs abroad.
Sour Grapes: The Compromising Effect of the United States’ Failure to Protect Foreign Geographic Indications of Wines,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.