Whisky Case in China

By Rob Allanson
Global intellectual property (IP) firm Rouse has successfully acted for Diageo in a landmark IP case in China.Diageo accused Blueblood (Shanghai) Wine Co Ltd of adopting similar packaging to its Johnnie Walker Black Label product.Nearly all legal or factual claims by Blueblood were examined and subsequently rejected by the Court.When selling its Polonius whisky, Blueblood used the same square bottle as Johnnie Walker and the three labels in black and gold were attached in the same positions.Blueblood was also accused of selling Polonius whisky online with pictures of Johnnie Walker, confusing customers.The RMB1.25 million in damages awarded to Diageo by the Court in Shanghai exceeded the statutory damages limit by some margin despite the IP rights being unregistered.Rouse believes this decision to be a statement from the Shanghai court system that they are willing to take a robust approach to protect the IP rights of brand owners.