Scotch whisky receives trademark recognition in Hong Kong

Scotch whisky receives trademark recognition in Hong Kong

Lindesay Low

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has secured certification trademark status for ‘Scotch Whisky’ in Hong Kong, ensuring that only whiskies produced in Scotland following strict guidelines can be labelled as such.

To qualify, whisky must be crafted using water, cereals, and yeast, and must mature in oak casks within Scotland for a minimum of three years.

Hong Kong – classed as a special administrative region (SAR) of China – joins over 100 global territories that officially acknowledge whisky as a Scottish product, adhering to traditional methods and worthy of unique protection. Prior to this decision, Scotch whisky’s protection in Hong Kong, was dependent on the law of passing off, which often resulted in complex and costly court cases.

The product is already protected as a geographical indication and a trademark in mainland China, and a GI in Macao – another SAR.

Lindesay Low, deputy legal director at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “Hong Kong is an increasingly important market for Scotch whisky, with exports to the region worth more than £31 million in 2022.

“Improving protection of Scotch whisky in developing markets is a priority for the SWA Legal Team, as consumers in these markets explore and expand their knowledge of Scotland’s national drink.

“Hong Kong’s recognition of the Scotch whisky certification trademark gives consumers in the market the confidence and certainty that what they are purchasing is the genuine quality product.”

Brian Davidson, British consul general to Hong Kong and Macao, said: “This milestone recognises Scotch whisky as a symbol of Scotland’s rich heritage and craftsmanship.

“We are grateful for the continued appreciation shown by Hong Kong consumers – they can now have even more confidence in the provenance of Scotland’s beloved national spirit.”

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