Scots claim victory in Canadian whisky label case

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Scotch whisky Whisky

A Canadian drinks group has failed in its bid to keep using the
word 'glen' on one of its whisky brands after a court in the
country ruled against the manufacturer in a trademark dispute with
Scottish producers.

The verdict has been welcomed by the Scotland-based Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), which says that the judgment is vital in upholding a number of similar trademark disputes with global whisky makers.

The association claims that including the word 'glen' on whisky was confusing and misleading Canadian retailers and consumers into thinking that the whisky was in fact the Scotch variety of the product.

Glen Breton Glenora Distillers says it is disappointed by the ruling of the Canadian Federal Court, which has refused to allow the group to register the name Glen Breton as a trade-mark for its single malt whisky.

The company added that it now hoped to appeal against the court decision.

Lauchie MacLean, president of Glenora said the decision could have major ramifications for whisky production in the country and globally.

"It appears the decision is based on a conclusion that the word 'glen' can no longer be used in Canada as a registered trademark for whisky, unless it is a scotch whisky," he stated .

"This decision could have serious economic ramifications for Glenora Distillers."

MacLean told that the Glen Breton name had been used on its products since 2000, and although the company would continue to use the name in the foreseeable future, failure to appeal against the court's decision could force a rebranding of the product.

Glenora argued that it has always marketed the Glen Breton brand as being the only Canada-made single malt whisky.

The distiller claims the use of the term glen was not therefore an allusion to Scotch whisky, but rather, its own Canadian heritage.

"It is also a reference to Glenville, home to Glenora Distillery and the many 'glen' place names of regional culture, and to the pure waters of the glen stream used to produce our whisky," the company stated.

SWA reaction The SWA said that during the case it had provided evidence of over thirty instances in the country of Glen Breton having been "misdescribed" as Scotch whisky.

The association's David Williamson told that it had been expressing concerns about the Glen Breton brand for a number of years, in line with similar cases regarding whisky manufacturers in markets like the US and Australia that had used the word 'glen' on their labels.

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