SWA secures trademark protection for Scotch whisky in South Korea

“Scotch Whisky” is now a registered trademark in South Korea, giving Scottish distillers exporting to  the country additional legal protection.

Scotch producers now have extra legal protection in South Korea (Photo: Wiki)

The new certification means that the title “Scotch Whisky” can only be used on whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with production and labelling requirements.

Scotch can only be made from the raw materials of water, cereals and yeast and must be matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks.

The SWA has made a number of successful trademark applications overseas in recent months. It secured a Geographical Indication for Scotch in Indonesia in November 2018.

The new trademark gives producers further legal support in South Korea, which is currently dealt with through the EU-South Korean free-trade agreement.

Lindesay Low, the SWA’s legal deputy director, said the organisation was working to secure “continued legal protection for Scotch Whisky post-Brexit.”

“This is just the latest legal success which shows the SWA will continue to set up legal frameworks that enable us to take action to stop the sale of fake and counterfeit products that unfairly take advantage of the quality and reputation of Scotch Whisky.”

More than 100 countries have registered some form of trademark or GI certification for Scotch Whisky, which is frequently counterfeited.

Not all of the SWA’s lobbying efforts have been successful. It lost a trademark dispute against Japanese retailer Isetan Mitsukoshi in March over use of the word ‘tartan’, arguing that tartan is an iconic symbol of Scotland and can function as a geographical indication for whisky.

In 2018, the export value of Scotch Whisky grew 7.8% by value to a record £4.70bn, with the previous record high £4.37bn in 2017, according to figures from HMRC.

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