Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has launched a Federal Court trade mark case against an Australian producer it alleges is selling copycat Penfolds wines into the Chinese market.
The Australian wine giant alleges its BEN FU trade mark (the Chinese transliteration for Penfolds) has been copied by Rush Rich Pty Ltd and is being made and labelled in Australia.
TWE CEO Michael Clarke said a few copycat operators were “liquidating” Brand Australia in foreign markets.
The copycat wines raised eyebrows with a stand at the Chengdu Wine Fair last year.
“We have become aware of a number of copycat operators that are taking illegal and unfair advantage of the success of iconic brands such as Penfolds,” he said.
“The infringing products and misleading claims these operators are making, and the association they falsely claim to have with our brands are unconscionable.”
The company alleges the copycat wine is being sourced and bottled through bulk wine suppliers and third party bottlers in South Australia, and then being exported under labels mimicking the look and feel of Penfolds wines and its BEN FU trademarks.
TWE reported EBIT of A$117m in Asia at its half year results last month.
The latest legal action follows TWE’s victory in the Beijing High People’s Court 12 months ago giving the company the sole rights to use and market the BEN FU trademark in China.
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