Scotch Whisky registered as a trademark in Australia
Scotch Whisky has been registered as a certification trade mark in Australia, after nearly ten years of attempts by industry body the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to stop the sale of ‘fakes’.
The SWA said there had been a “serious problem” with fake ‘Scotch Whisky’ being sold in Australia in recent years. The SWA has taken action to stop the sale of 40 brands of fake ‘Scotch’ in Australia since 2005. According to the SWA, the rise of these fake brands is believed to be the result of specific protection for Scotch Whisky being removed from Australia’s Food Standards Code in 2000 and “a lack of enforcement activity by the authorities”.
UK Government and EC assistance
The SWA said it sought assistance from the UK Government and the European Commission (EC). UK Foreign Secretary William Hague raised the issue on a visit to Australia drawing it to the attention of the Australian Government in bilateral meetings.
“I have been involved in actions against many fake ‘Scotch Whisky’ products in Australia in recent years,” said Alan Park, Legal Advisor at the SWA. “Registration of Scotch Whisky as a certification trademark is a major breakthrough and 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,” he said.
“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,” Mr Park said. “Scotch Whisky exports are of immense value to the economy so overseas protection is vital. We will be monitoring the market and will use our new protection for Scotch Whisky to take decisive action against fakes,” he said.
The SWA said Scotch Whisky exports to Australia were worth £84 million in 2013, up 7 per cent from £79m in 2012, making Australia the twelfth largest overseas market by value.
Whisky fraud history
Whisky ‘fraud’ has been an ongoing issue globally for several years. In August 2008, Australian Food News reported that leading global drinks manufacturer Diageo had created new technology to crack down on whisky fraud. Australian Food News also reported in August 2008 that Scotch Whisky had achieved trademark protection in China.