Jo Hanley and the OurWhisky Foundation

Credit: Jo Hanley and the OurWhisky Foundation

Scotch granted trademark protection in Hong Kong

22 August, 2023

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced that Scotch whisky has been registered as a trademark in Hong Kong, following the success of its application.

The trademark recognition means that the description "Scotch Whisky" can only be used on whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with production and labelling requirements. 

Lindesay Low, deputy legal director at the SWA, said: “Hong Kong is an increasingly important market for Scotch whisky, with exports to the region worth more than £31m 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,” Low added.

The requirements state that Scotch can only be made from the raw materials of water, cereals and yeast and matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks.

Before the trademark recognition, the protection of Scotch relied on the law of passing off, which would involve expensive and complex court proceedings.

The SWA also said Hong Kong is now one of more than 100 global territories which have officially recognised Scotch as a product from Scotland. 

Brian Davidson, British consul general to Hong Kong and Macao, said: “This milestone recognises Scotch Whisky as a symbol of Scotland's 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 national spirit.” 

Scotch is already protected as a Geographical Indication (GI) and a trademark in Mainland China and as a GI in Macao.

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