According to its constituent instrument of 1924, the OIV is responsible for ensuring the protection of appellations of origin. This responsibility was included in the Agreement of 3 April 2001 establishing the International Organisation of Vine and Wine.
The OIV shall submit to its members all proposals relating to: [...]
(ii) protecting geographical indications, especially vine- and wine-growing areas and the related appellations of origin, whether designated by geographical names or not, insofar as they do not call into question international agreements relating to trade and intellectual property.
In 1947, it adopted an initial definition of appellation of origin.
In 1992, the OIV clarified these concepts and adopted two definitions (OIV - Res.ECO 2-92_FR), "Recognised Geographical Indication (R.G.I.)" and "Recognised Appellation of Origin (R.A.O.)".
These definitions related to the world vitivinicultural sector situation where wine-producing countries had all expressed their interest in the creation, for their region, of a recognition and protection system for appellation of origin and/or geographical indications but were unable to agree on the minimum criteria to be imposed. This resulted in the idea to establish two definitions offering two levels of requirements but the same protection.
Two years later in 1994, the OIV adopted a resolution (OIV - Res.ECO 3-94_FR) on the relationship between RAO and RGI and the brands which provides for an equal level of protection for brands, recognised appellations of origin, recognised geographical indications and recognised traditional names. This protection is determined by priority (of recognition, registration or usage depending on the type of distinctive brand) while taking into account the distinctive character and reputation.
During its General Assembly in Germany, the OIV added to its recommendations through the section on homonyms (OIV - Res.ECO 3-99_FR) and a resolution on principles regarding geographical indications and the internet (OIV - Res.ECO 6-99_FR).
The OIV Extraordinary General Assembly approved the 2009-2012 Strategic Plan at its meeting in October 2008.
Point M of the aforementioned Plan (Designation and labelling), states in Action M.6.
«Draw up an inventory for wines and spirits of viticultural origin, on the Denomination of Origin and Geographic Indications in OIV Member States including their respective national legislations».
This list is a compilation of the names of vitivinicultural geographical indications or appellations of origin which are legally protected and recognised.
The list provides information based on notifications by the relevant authorities in each State. If necessary, these authorities may be required to provide additional information.
The list carries no rights or legal obligations.
The OIV accepts no legal responsibility regarding the legal status of names or the validity of their protection.
Besides the OIV, two other intergovernmental organisations have sought to establish a definition and recognition system for geographical indications.
The TRIPS Agreement signed in Marrakesh on 15 April 1994, which came into force on 1 January 1995, has completely changed and greatly improved the approach to the issue of protecting appellations of origin.
By extending the scope of the protection to include geographical indications, it has confirmed the place of Geographical Indication and Appellation of Origin in intellectual property law and has implicitly established the principle of a specific protection independent of trademark law.
For wines and spirits, it has provided protection in addition to that granted to other geographical indications.
The Lisbon Agreement for the protection of appellations of origin and their international registration was adopted in 1958 and revised at Stockholm in 1967. It came into force on 25 September 1966 and is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which keeps the international register of appellations of origin up to date.
The Lisbon Agreement is a special agreement under Article 19 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. Any country party to the Convention may accede to the Agreement.
The Lisbon Agreement was concluded in response to the need for an international system that would facilitate the production of a special category of such geographical indications, i.e. "appellations of origin", in countries other than the country of origin, by means of their registration at the International Bureau of WIPO.
The European Union has developed the E-Bacchus database which consists of the register of designations of origin and geographical indications protected in the EU in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007. It lists non-EU countries’ geographical indications and names of origin protected in the EU in accordance with bilateral agreements on trade in wine concluded between the EU and the non-EU countries concerned and lists the traditional terms protected in the EU in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007.