NEW ZEALAND: SWA steps up legal fight against 'whisky-like' MacGowans
The SWA has appealed against the trademark
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has had an appeal over a trademark ruling involving a whisky-like drink that claims to "evoke the flavour of the Highlands" heard in New Zealand's High Court.
New Zealand discount off-licence chain The Mill Liquor Save has been selling MacGowans – a 13.9% abv whisky-flavoured spirit – for around two years, according to local reports. The drink is produced in Australia exclusively for the chain.
The SWA had an appeal turned down earlier this year by the assistant commissioner of trademarks in the country, three years after the Mill registered the brand.
But yesterday (22 November) the group had a fresh legal appeal heard by a High Court judge.
Rosemary Gallagher, the SWA's communications manager, told just-drinks: “In this case we are taking action in New Zealand against a retailer which is trying to register the trademark MacGowans for a whisky-flavoured spirit described as ‘The finest distilled spirit blended to evoke the flavour of the Highlands’, when in fact the product is not a spirit and is produced in Australia.”
The SWA regularly takes action against ‘lookalike’ products that “mislead consumers by using Scottish names and references”, Gallagher added.
The judge, Justice Stephen Kos, said his thinking was still "reasonably fluid" on the case, accorinding to the Dominion Post report.
A decision is not expected until at least Christmas, just-drinks understands.
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