Wine industry steps closer to IP protection from copycats

Friday, 06 December, 2019

Wine industry steps closer to IP protection from copycats

The Australian Government’s introduction of the Wine Australia Amendment (Label Directory) Bill 2019 to the Australian Parliament this week (2 December 2019) is a step forward in the sector’s efforts to protect its reputation as a world-class wine producer.

The Bill will enable the development of an Australian Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory, which will allow Australian wine businesses to identify copycat brands and infringements of their intellectual property.

The directory will require all Australian wine exporters to submit images of their labels prior to gaining export approval, and will allow Australian wine businesses and exporters to search for products which may breach their intellectual property. In cases where a business is identified as seeking to imitate a legitimate brand owner’s intellectual property, this business could be stripped of their export licence by Wine Australia, in addition to the brand owner taking private legal action.

“Australia is a global wine export powerhouse, with a growing number of brands sitting in the upper echelon of fine wines internationally,” said Tony Battaglene, Chief Executive of Australian Grape and Wine Inc (Australian Grape & Wine).

“However, as Australia’s fine-wine reputation has grown, so has the risk of fraud through intellectual property theft or passing-off. Australian wine business owners have needed to take additional steps to protect their brands and intellectual property in overseas markets, and increasingly, to invest in protection in Australia as well. This protection is costly and time-consuming for businesses, but the potential for damage to Australia’s wine brand overseas means this action is necessary.

“We commend the Minister for Agriculture, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, for backing Australia’s wine businesses. We are delighted the Bill has been introduced and expect bipartisan support for this critical piece of legislation,” Battaglene said.

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