10-year deal to protect Scotch Whisky IP in China

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has renewed its collective trademarks ‘Scotch Whisky’ and its translation ‘苏格兰威士忌’ in China — the world’s largest spirits market — until November 2028.

As a result, Scotch Whisky is officially protected from locally produced copies for a further 10 years.

The announcement was made as SWA chief executive Karen Betts joined the UK Prime Minister Theresa May on a three-day trade visit to China.

Scotch Whisky is the UK’s largest food and drink export, with Scotch exports earning the UK more than £4 billion a year.

The SWA said it has worked closely with the British Embassy and Chinese authorities to crack down on locally produced spirits falsely described as “Scotch.”

Since securing trademark protection in 2008, the SWA said it has investigated and dealt with around 200 brands of fake “Scotch” in addition “to over 100 trademarks featuring Scottish words and images which companies have applied for in bad faith for use on their Chinese made products.”

Betts said: “The renewal of the ‘Scotch Whisky’ trademark is an important step in securing future growth for the world’s leading high-quality spirit drink in China, the world’s largest spirits market.

“While 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

“As we approach the Chinese New Year, I’m delighted to join the Prime Minister on this trade visit to showcase the heritage, craft and quality of Scotch Whisky — which is the UK’s largest food and drink export.

“China is a key market for Scotch Whisky, both now and in the future, and legal protection is the firm foundation on which our future trade is built.”