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UK/CANADA: SWA in trademark fight over Canadian whisky

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The Scotch Whisky Association has urged Canada's trademark authorities to block a local distiller from registering the Glen Breton trademark.

The UK-based SWA is looking to prevent Canadian firm Glenora Distillers from using the name for its Glen Breton Rare single malt whisky.

The SWA argues the use of the word 'Glen' would confuse consumers, who, the association argues, might believe the Canadian whisky is Scotch.

An SWA spokesman said the association is concerned that Glenora is looking to take "unfair advantage of Scotch whisky's international reputation through the adoption of a Scottish sounding name".

He told just-drinks today (18 December): "For obvious reasons, producers of whiskies may seek to link their product to Scotland and Scotch whisky. That is clearly unfair competition. Consumers would no longer be sure of what they are getting when they buy a whisky with a Scottish sounding name, and Scottish names on whisky would cease to function as an indication of the geographical origin of the product."

Lawyers for the two sides last week made submissions to the Canadian Trademark Commission, although a decision could be months away.

The SWA has a record of seeking to prevent overseas distillers from using words associated with Scotland in the branding of their products.

In July, the association forced an Indian distiller to pull a top-selling product from its domestic market amid claims the brand was being sold as Scotch whisky. The SWA struck an agreement with Jagatjit Industries, the owners of Bonnie Scot whisky. The brand will be renamed Bonnie King and clearly labelled as a product of India.


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