Scotch whisky gets registered trademark in OzBy Amy Hopkins
Scotch whisky has been given a registered trademark in Australia as the industry continues its fight against the counterfeit market.
According to UK-based trade body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the production and sale of fake “Scotch” whisky has been a mounting problem in Australia in recent years, with the association action against the sale of at least 40 counterfeit brands since 2005.
It claimed that this was a result of a specific protection for Scotch whisky which was removed from the country’s Food Standards Code in 2000 coupled with a lack of enforcement by authorities.
The SWA therefore sought support from both the UK Government and European Commission, resulting in the UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague raising the issue on a visit to Australia and the Commission drawing it to the attention of the Australian Government in bilateral meetings.
The announcement that Scotch will be registered as a certification trademark has been called a “major breakthrough” by the industry.
“I have been involved in actions against many fake ‘Scotch’ whisky products in Australia in recent years,” said Alan Park, legal adviser at the SWA. “Registration of Scotch whisky as a certification trade mark will make it easier to crack down on fakes and therefore protect consumers, although the onus to prevent the sale of fakes still rests on the industry.
“It has taken time and effort to achieve this result and we would like to thank the UK Government and European Commission for their support. Scotch Whisky exports are of immense value to the economy so overseas protection is vital.”
Park added that this new trademark certification will allow the industry to better monitor the market and “take decisive action against fakes”.
For a spirit to be marketed as Scotch whisky, it must have been distilled in Scotland using malted barley, while according to SWA guidelines, no other ingredients except caramel colouring and water should be added.
According to SWA data, Scotch whisky exports to Australia were worth £84 million in 2013, up 7% from £79m in 2012, making it the 12th largest overseas market by value.