The Australian Government is developing an Australian Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory to help protect Australia’s multi-billion dollar wine export market from inferior knock-offs that could damage its reputation.
Agriculture and Water Resources Minister David Littleproud said in a media release last month the purpose of the Directory was to protect Australian growers and their wines from “copycats“.
Copycats export inexpensive, lookalike knock-offs of quality Australian wines and copy Australian brands by plagiarising their labels.
Mr Littleproud stressed that the wines produced by copycats, not only impact the businesses of Australian growers who are the victims of such copycat behaviour, but also impact the greater Australian wine reputation, as this behaviour “ruins the reputation of our wine when customers expect a quality Australian wine and receive a cheap knock-off“.
He said the Directory would “help ensure copycats are held accountable” as copycat exporters could be “stripped of their export licence“.
The Directory is currently being developed and will:
- contain a range of information associated with each label such as, trademarks, brand names and exporter’s details (e.g. the exporter’s Australian Business Number); and
- be accessible by the public who will be able to search the Directory for specific components of labels, including brands names and image elements.
Once the Directory is implemented, all Australian wine exporters will need to submit their labels to the Directory before obtaining export certification. The purpose of this is to prevent the export of copycat or infringing products.
The Directory will also assist genuine Australian wine producers who wish to initiate private legal action against copycats, as copycat labels will be easily identifiable. Such action may include the enforcement of a range of copyright, common law and/or trade mark rights as well as any rights available under the Australian Consumer Law.