Wine Australia is aware that Treasury Wine Estates has commenced action in the Federal Court however we do not comment on matters before the court.
Although Wine Australia does not have responsibility for trade mark issues or the protection of private intellectual property rights, we are concerned that copycat brands may harm the reputation of Australian wine in export markets.
One of Wine Australia’s roles is to issue export licences and it has the power to cancel or suspend an export licence in certain circumstances, including if the actions of the exporter are adversely affecting the promotion of Australian wine in export markets.
If an activity is proven to be adversely affecting the export trade in wine we will consider cancelling the licences of exporters who are exporting copycat brands.
Proposed changes to the Australian wine regulations commencing on 1 April 2018 will also broaden the scope of matters that Wine Australia will consider in determining whether an exporter is eligible to hold a licence.
Bottlers should also be aware that by simply printing or affixing labels they could
potentially be infringing copyright or trade mark rights under Australian law and should seek legal advice.
Wine Australia provides a free service to the sector so that wine companies, bottlers and label designers can seek guidance on compliance for both domestic and export markets. Last year, there were 500 label inquiries and over 1000 general export inquiries.
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About Wine Australia
Wine Australia invests in research and development (R&D), marketing, disseminating knowledge, encouraging adoption, protecting the reputation of Australian wine and supporting the growth of international wine tourism in Australia.
Wine Australia is an Australian Commonwealth Government statutory authority, established under the Wine Australia Act 2013, and funded by grape growers and winemakers through levies and user-pays charges and the Australian Government, which provides matching funding for RD&E investments.