Moutai withdraws appeal against China’s top trademark office

China’s most famous liquor brand, Kweichow Moutai, has withdrawn its appeal against China’s top trademark office after it denied the liquor company’s application to use the term “national spirit” for its products, ending nearly 20 years of legal wrangling over a term that the Chinese public has come to associate with the brand.

Despite often being described as “China’s national spirit”, Kweichow Moutai, the historic distillery that has a deep connection with China’s communist revolutionary history, never owned the trademark rights to the term.

Its latest attempt to obtain the trademark rights was rejected earlier this year by the country’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SIAC) for the tenth time since the company first started petitioning to register the trademark in 2001.

In a statement posted by Moutai this week, the company announced it had decided to withdraw the appeal from Beijing Intellectual Property Court, and apologised to The Trademark Office of the SIAC.

This came three months after the trademark office upheld its decision to reject Moutai’s application for ‘national spirit’ in 2016 on the grounds that the term would indicate that Moutai is the best liquor in the country and thus promote unfair market competition.

In 2012, the Trademark Office gave the case initial approval to proceed, but this led to fervent objections from more than 30 parties including fellow baijiu distilleries such as Wuliangye Yibin, Shanxi Xinghuacun Fen Wine Factory and COFCO Wines & Spirits.

In 2016, the trademark office ruled against Moutai.

Moutai, arguably the most revered baijiu brand within China, has been a staple at state banquets and is often presented as state gift to foreign dignitaries. Almost exclusively consumed within China, the popularity of Moutai has pushed up its market price to make it the world’s most valuable liquor brand, surpassing Diageo.

Having a mild yellow hue, Moutai is said to be the quintessential baijiu for the soy sauce type of aroma.

The throat-burning liquor was China’s first premier Zhou Enlai’s favourite. Not only was it the tipple of choice for Zhou to entertain state dignitaries, Zhou personally collected aged Moutai and once issued state directive to block any kind of chemical plant construction near Moutai for fear of water contamination.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Manager

The Old Curiosity Distillery
United Kingdom

Brand Development Executive

Manchester Gin
Manchester, UK

Senior Buyer

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

PR Manager

Master of Malt
London, UK

Sales Manager

Hairy Dog Brewery
Haywards Heath, UK

National Operations Director

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Sales Executive – Hush Heath Estate

Hush Heath Estate
London/ Kent

Marketing Manager

Zonin UK
Richmond, UK

Unsigned Talent Tasting

London,United Kingdom
20th Sep 2018

Love Wine, Love Chile

London,United Kingdom
25th Sep 2018

Almaviva Masterclass

London,United Kingdom
26th Sep 2018
Click to view more

Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2018

the drinks business is proud to announce the fifth year of its Global Cabernet Sauvignon Masters

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

the drinks business is proud to announce the fourth year of the Global Pinot Noir Masters, the most extensive competition in the Global Masters series.

Click to view more