SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • Geographical Indications;
  • Protected Food Names;
  • Protected Designation of Origin;
  • Stilton Cheese;
  • terroir;
  • place

Copyright, patents and trademarks are well-known types of Intellectual Property (IP). However, there is another form of IP known as Geographical Indications (GIs). Foods, drinks and agricultural products can be certified as GIs. The quality of each GI is considered to exclusively or significantly derive from the supposedly unique physical attributes of the defined and bounded locations from which they originate. The use of GIs discriminates between producers who are categorised as in-place or out-of-place. This determines the firms that are permitted to invoke economically valuable geographical names. Producers of GIs rely on notions of place, boundaries and terroir to validate their claims to GI status. These are intrinsically geographical factors with which our discipline has long engaged. However, the GI system itself has rarely been studied from a geographical perspective. This paper interrogates the constructions of place, boundaries and terroir common to the conceptual infrastructure of all GIs. It employs Stilton Cheese – one of Britain's most iconic territorial foods – to illustrate these ideas. The Stilton case also shows that taken-for-granted ideas of place and production methods can be challenged by motivated adversaries who introduce new evidence in their quest to destabilise this GI. The overall aim of this work is to draw attention to the geographical infrastructure of this expanding regulatory system and more fully reveal the interests served by the GI model.