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CHINA: Scotch whisky gets trademark protection

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Scotch whisky is to receive official protection as a geographical indication in China, one of its most promising export markets.

China's Trademark Office has agreed to register Scotch as a "collective trademark", the Scotch Whisky Association announced today (15 August).

The ruling will help Scotch to protect itself against copycat products in China, which is seen as one of the region's major growth markets. Scotch exports to China rose from £1m (US$1.9m) to £58m between 2001 and 2006, according to SWA figures.

Both the term Scotch whisky and its Chinese translation will be protected, said the SWA.

Lindesay Low, an SWA legal advisor specialising in the Chinese market, said the ruling was "an important advance and will help to ensure Chinese consumers and Scottish distillers are protected from fake products".

The SWA said that it and Chinese authorities jointly investigated around 50 suspect products in 2006, with stocks subsequently seized and destroyed.

An SWA spokesperson told just-drinks today that China represented a great opportunity for Scotch distillers. "We are only just scratching the surface. There's a lot of areas out there with populations bigger than Scotland's where we don't yet have a presence."

The SWA estimated that direct and indirect Scotch shipments to China last year totalled approximately £75m. Official SWA figures only track direct shipments.      


Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Scotch Whisky Association

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