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Legal breakthrough for scotch in Taiwan

Scotch whisky has secured a major legal breakthrough, having been registered as a certification trademark in Taiwan, providing consumers and producers with better protection against fakes.

Taiwan is the fourth biggest market for scotch by value with exports worth £75 million in the first six months of the year. Consumers are knowledgeable about scotch and willing to try out new brands. It is the third biggest overseas market for single malt with exports worth £41m in the first half 2016.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which applied for the trade mark, says the existence of the UK Customs’ Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme, which was introduced in 2014, was an important factor in meeting the requirements necessary to secure protection. The scheme ensures every part of the Scotch whisky supply chain is mapped by the industry, registered with the UK Government and inspected to check it complies with all the rules on the production of scotch. The SWA said the scheme gave the authorities in Taiwan even greater confidence in the robust procedures around Scotch.

The trademark recognises that scotch must be made in Scotland from water, cereals and yeast and matured for at least three years. It is of great commercial value to the scotch whisky industry and gives consumers confidence in the quality and provenance of what they are buying. A second trademark has been awarded in Taiwan to protect the Chinese characters that spell out ‘scotch whisky.’

The SWA says that while it already works well with the authorities in Taiwan, which is an ordered and well-regulated market, the trademarks make it more simple to take legal action against anyone trying to produce or sell fake scotch in the future.

Lindesay Low, SWA senior legal counsel, says: “Taiwan has for many years been a major market for scotch whisky, in particular single malts. The trade marks for scotch whisky mean that consumers can have even greater confidence in the quality of what they are buying. It will also give a further boost to scotch whisky producers exporting to Taiwan.

“We would like to thank the authorities in Taiwan who were of great assistance in working with us on the successful outcome of our trade mark application, as were the UK Government.”

28 September 2016 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, editorial assistant