The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the industry trade body, said there has been a serious problem with fake ‘Scotch Whisky’ being sold in Australia in recent years.
Australia has been one of the worst markets for fake ‘Scotch’. The SWA has taken action to stop the sale of 40 brands of fake ‘Scotch’ in Australia since 2005. It is believed this is the result of specific protection for Scotch Whisky being removed from the country’s Food Standards Code in 2000 and a lack of enforcement activity by the authorities. As a result, the onus for policing the market has fallen entirely on the trade.
The SWA sought assistance from the UK Government and the European Commission. They gave ongoing support, with Foreign Secretary William Hague raising the issue on a visit to Australia and the EC drawing it to the attention of the Australian Government in bilateral meetings.
Alan Park, legal adviser at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “I have been involved in actions against many fake ‘Scotch Whisky’ products in Australia in recent years. Registration of Scotch Whisky as a certification trade mark is a major breakthrough and will make it easier to crack down on fakes and therefore protect consumers, although the onus to prevent the sale of fakes still rests on the industry.
“It has taken time and effort to achieve this result and we would like to thank the UK Government and European Commission for their support. Scotch Whisky exports are of immense value to the economy so overseas protection is vital. We will be monitoring the market and will use our new protection for Scotch Whisky to take decisive action against fakes.”
Scotch Whisky exports to Australia were worth £84 million in 2013, up 7% from £79m in 2012, making it the twelfth largest overseas market by value.
The SWA has been litigating across the world since the early 1950s to protect Scotch Whisky. Usually it takes civil legal action in the courts, but its lawyers also work with the administrative and criminal authorities in overseas markets. It has authorised legal action against over 1,000 brands and nearly 3,000 trademarks worldwide have been opposed. Today, at any one time, up to 70 different legal actions around the world are being pursued.
About The Scotch Whisky Association
The Scotch Whisky Association is the trade body for the industry. It protects and promotes Scotch Whisky worldwide. Fore more information please visit www.scotch-whisky.org.uk and find them on Twitter.