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Penfolds wins lawsuit against ‘Rush Rich’ copycat

Australian wine giant and owner of Penfolds, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), has won its case against copycat brand ‘Rush Rich’ in Shanghai, a year after it filed a lawsuit in both Australia and China.

Sure success: Penfolds’ adopted Chinese name, ‘Ben Fu’ means “Chasing Prosperity”

This is the latest legal win for TWE in its battle to protect its intellectual property rights. It follows reports last February that the wine giant launched a law suit against Rush Rich, a Chinese wine company that makes wine in south Australia.

Its lawsuit in Australia, the source country of Rush Rich wines, is still ongoing, the company told dbHK.

Rush Rich is believed to be sourced and bottled through bulk wine suppliers and third party bottlers in South Australia, and then exported under labels that copy the look and feel of Penfolds wines, infringing TWE’s rights to the Penfolds and Ben Fu 奔富 trademarks.

In a statement TWE sent to dbHK, the company said: “The Shanghai Pudong Court has reached a decision confirming that Rush Rich International Trading Inc and its associated company East Bright Sunshine (Jinjiang) Import & Export Co have engaged in unfair competition by making false allegations as to their history and fame in relation to the Australian wine industry and misleading Chinese consumers in to believing that they have a relationship with the Penfolds brand.

“Instead the Chinese Court found that Rush Rich is clearly a Chinese wine brand and its claimed history and fame in relation to the Australian wine industry is false and misleading. TWE welcomes this decision and will continue to enforce against any entity seeking to take unfair advantage of its brands through its proactive brand protection strategy.”

The case verdict was announced leading up to the World’s Intellectual Property Rights on 26 April, as part of China’s efforts to demonstrate its determination to clamp down on brand squatters and copyright infringements.

Additionally, according to the verdict, Rush Rich was ordered to pay TWE RMB 1.4 million (US$207,900) in losses. The company was also ordered by court to issue statement on Chinese publication Wine In China, as well as Rush Rich’s own WeChat account to “reverse the negative impacts it has caused caused TWE”.

TWE is among the most active brand owners taking copycats to court in China.

Previously, after years of court wrangling, it successfully won a case against a brand squatter of its transliterated Chinese name 奔富 meaning ‘chasing prosperity’ in Chinese in 2017.

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