The authors argue that geographical indication (GI) represents a strong historical and symbolic link between peoples and the place of origin of products. Gls have much wider potential applications than trade marks and the prevention of unfair competitive practices. For developing countries with different production structures and natural endowments, a broader protection of Gl may constitute one of the most important categories of intellectual property, as reflected in the case of jasmine rice and Thailand. The article provides a general overview of the legal aspects of the protection of geographical indications in Thailand, which can be described as an "Old World" developing country. It also examines the role of the Gl system in possible contributions to national development such as the alleviation of poverty, and environmental benefits such as sustainable use of biological resources, particularly through the promotion of biodiversity conservation and protection of traditional knowledge.