Chivas toasting court judgment on copycats

Chivas toasting court judgment on copycats


After three years of legal wrangling, the Hangzhou intermediate court recently found two Shandong companies guilty of infringing on the trademark of Chivas Regal and ordered them to pay 500,000 yuan ($78.650)in damages.

In a rare ruling in China, the court also found copycat packaging violated the intellectual property rights of Chivas.

It was also the first civil court judgment against a look-alike product for the famed Scotch whisky distiller Chivas Brothers in China.

The lawsuit against Yantai Aowei and Yantai Chivas, the manufacturer and distributor of ELYSEE REGAL, was filed in 2009 by Chivas Brothers, which is owned by the global beverage giant Pernod Ricard Group.

The Hangzhou court judgment found that four trademarks belonging to Chivas Brothers were violated, including a so-called three-dimensional trademark on packaging.

The Scotch distiller said that the ruling marks an important milestone in intellectual property protection, not only for Chivas Brothers, but also for other brands with three-dimensional trademark protection on their packaging.

During the investigation and trial, Pernod Ricard assisted the court in the investigation and collection of evidence.

In a statement, Chivas Brothers said "the success of the trial has demonstrated the growing importance the Chinese government places on the protection of intellectual property".

"Businesses that seek quick returns by making look-alikes and counterfeits of well-known trademarks not only violate national laws and regulations but also compromise the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and owners of trademarks," the company said.

Con Constandis, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard China, said "the success of the trial is of great significance to Pernod Ricard as it is our first win in China against look-alikes of the Chivas brand".

"We greatly appreciate the efforts by Chinese government authorities in protecting intellectual property and we will continue to work in close cooperation with them so that we can contribute more to the protection of consumer rights and interests," he added.

Since it hit the Chinese market more than two decades ago, Chivas Regal has become one of the most-popular whisky brands in the country due to "its superior quality and consumer-oriented marketing strategy", the company said.

Chivas Brothers is a member of the Scotch Whisky Association that protects the renowned spirit around the world.

To qualify, Scotch whisky must be aged in Scotland for at least three years. Whisky in Chivas Regal 12 Year Old Scotch is at least as old as its name states, according to the company.

The names "CHIVAS", "CHIVAS REGAL" and "" were recognized in 2009 by the Chinese Trademark Office as well-known trademarks in China.

The status prohibits other companies from registering CHIVAS, CHIVAS REGAl or or any similar words for any goods, not only spirits.

(Source:China Daily)

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