The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has successfully taken action against a packaging manufacturer in China. The ruling of the Chinese Court in favour of the SWA has been heralded as a significant legal breakthrough, heeding a warning to others.
Anhui Guangyu Packaging Technology Company Ltd manufactured bottle caps imprinted with the words “Scotch Whisky”, a term reserved for use only in relation to whisky produced and matured in Scotland.
The SWA has on many occasions successfully taken legal action against improper and deceptive use of the term “Scotch Whisky”. Such legal actions generally relate more to the end product itself, namely, whisky or alcoholic beverages produced elsewhere but being sold as “Scotch whisky”.
The significance of this ruling is that on this occasion, the SWA was able to take action against a packaging producer who formed only part of the chain of production of such misleading products. By establishing that the offending bottle caps were to be used as part of the infringing final products, which were already being marketed 1,000 miles away in Myanmar, the SWA was able to convince the Court to grant an injunction, ordering Anhui Guangyu to cease any infringing actions and to pay damages and costs.