Achievements of Trento Lawtech Members: Ferrari

Matteo Ferrari has been recently offered a position as Post-doc research associate at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, McGill Universiy (Montreal, Canada), one of the world’s leading universities. He will work on the protection of geographical indications at international level and he will teach a course on European food law. The position has been offered up to the end of August, 2011.

Matteo has also been selected, after a competitive process, as a Marie Curie Fellow (International Outgoing Fellowship). The fellowship will start the first of September 2011 and will end the 31st of August 2013. He will spend the first year of the fellowship at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and the second year at the Lawtech Reserch Group and the Department of Juridical Sciences of the University of Trento. Below a short abstract summarizing the topic of his research.

ABSTRACT: The protection of geographical indications (GIs) for foodstuffs is a hotly debated question, both within the academic community and the political arenas. Even if GIs are unanimously recognized as part of the Intellectual Property domain, their proprietary dimension has been understudied so far, especially with regard to the fact they constitute a form of commonly-held property. My research aims at filling this gap, combining comparative analysis with an interpretative account which explores the meanings, values and practices associated to this peculiar proprietary paradigm. Specifically, I will compare two legal systems which epitomize two different approaches: Europe and Canada. Indeed, while the first has created an ad hoc systemfor protecting the place of origin of foodstuffs centred on GIs, the latter has preferred to make recourse to more traditional tools, such as trademarks, employing GIs in a limited way. The goal is to obtain a better understanding of: 1) which form of IP GIs are; 2) which functions they perform, especially vis a vis other forms of IP. The second question seeks to connect the peculiari proprietary nature of GIs to the functions they perform, by asking whether such nature allows for a better accomplishment of the three functions usually associated to them: 1) protection of the manufacturers’ investments in differentiating their products; 2) consumers’ information; 3) protection of cultural traditions and rural communities.