Renewal of Scotch Whisky Trade Mark in China

There were many important announcements following the UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent three-day trade visit to China. One of them pertained to the renewal of the Scotch whisky trade mark; protecting the intellectual property rights of Scotch whisky is imperative to the nation’s economy. It was revealed that the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has successfully renewed their collective trade mark of the valuable spirit until 2028 and consequently, Scotch whisky will continue to be legally protected from locally produced Chinese copies.

From the time they secured their trade mark protection back in 2008, the SWA has probed into approximately two hundred brands of fake ‘Scotch’ and over hundred trade marks comprising Scottish words and images which have been applied for in bad faith by Chinese companies.

Nevertheless, Karen Betts, the CEO of the SWA, has articulated that “[w]hile challenges remain, Scotch whisky producers can be confident that the Chinese government officially recognises Scotch whisky as a Scottish product, produced according to traditional methods, that should be given special recognition in the Chinese market…The industry has enjoyed great support from the Chinese authorities, who take food fraud and IP protection seriously, in tackling fake ‘Scotch’. We’re grateful too to the British Embassy, which has provided invaluable support”.

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