Scotch wins Chinese trademark battle

A Chinese court has handed an injunction to a company that was illegally labelling bottles of whisky as Scotch, which could set a legal precedent to protect the term.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently launched a new Scotch centre in Beijing (Photo: Whisky)

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently launched a new Scotch centre in Beijing (Photo: Whisky)

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) took out a lawsuit against Anhui Guangyu Packaging Technology Company, which was found to be illegally imprinting the caps of bottles of whisky as “Scotch Whisky”.

Announcing the court victory, Lindesay Low, SWA senior legal counsel, said that it is “significant for a number of reasons and should be seen as a legal breakthrough. We are confident this will help deter other potential counterfeiters and fraudsters in China.”

The international aspect of the case, the first to be concluded in the Chinese civil courts for the SWA, could also set a precedent, the trade body said.

The case involved the SWA disrupting a cross-border supply chain, as the whisky in question was produced for sale 1,000 miles away in Myanmar (Burma). Previously, the Association has only taken action against products manufactured and sold in China.

Significantly for the SWA, this was the first case where it has successfully taken action against a manufacturer of packaging, as normally its lawsuits are concerned with the contents of the bottle.

In this instance the SWA convinced the court that the caps were to be used illegally, although no complete bottles were discovered. The SWA says this is helpful as more manufacturers of fake spirits split the production process between different locations to reduce the chance of being caught.

Mr Low said that there is also a possible criminal case against the director of Annhui Packaging Technology Company, and “discussions are ongoing with the public prosecutor.”

The lawsuit, which was heard at Anqing Intermediate People’s Court in eastern China, resulted in an injunction ordering Guangyu to stop infringement of the Scotch trademark and pay damages and costs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Partner Manager - Manged On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Brand Manager

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire

Head of Sales

IWSC
London, UK

Logistic and Fullfilment - Whisky (and wine) administrator

Stilnovisti Ltd
London, United Kingdom // Dufftown, Keith, United Kingdom

Account Manager

Harviestoun Brewery
Field Based, UK

Buyer - Spain & South America

Enotria&Coe
London, UK

Events Sales Manager

Enotria&Coe
Field based - London or surrounding area

Sales Director Europe

Mirabeau Wine
Europe

Digital Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Manchester,United Kingdom
16th Oct 2018

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Leeds,United Kingdom
17th Oct 2018

Argentina Breaking New Ground Masterclass Series

Edinburgh,United Kingdom
18th Oct 2018
Click to view more

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2018

Deadline : 15th October 2018

Global Chardonnay Masters 2018

Deadline : 17th October 2018

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters 2018

As with all of the drinks business awards, our judging panel is comprised of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers making the competition globally renowned.

Champagne Masters 2018

Enter your wines into the Champagne Masters 2018, the only blind competition dedicated to Champagne in the UK.

Click to view more