The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has won a long-running dispute against several copycat products in Italy.

Italy's Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the SWA in its dispute with Italian supplier Angelo Vendrame, the SWA said today (26 June).

The ruling marks the end of a legal tussle that began in the late 1980s, when imitation 'Scotch Whiskies' supplied by Vendrame were found on sale in major retailers in Italy.

The whiskies used Scottish-sounding names, such as MacQueen and Clan 55.

Some were specifically mislabelled as Scotch whisky, whilst others claimed to be produced or matured in Scotland. Vendrame set up a UK business, Alex Albright, to enhance the supposed authenticity of the brands, but this was later wound up by the authorities, the SWA said.

"Such practices left unchecked would undermine consumer confidence and the integrity of Scotch whisky," said an SWA spokesperson. "Our top priority must be to protect Scotch whisky from all forms of unfair competition."

Scotch whisky has Protected Designation of Origin status in the EU, meaning only whisky from Scotland and made to strict production rules can use the name.

Earlier this month, the SWA lost a court case against a Canadian distiller.