22 October 2019TrademarksSarah Morgan

UK trademarks for spirits jump 58% in two years: RPC

The number of trademarks registered for spirits soared 58% over the past two years in the UK, driven by a boom in ‘craft’ spirits, according to professional services firm RPC.

In a report released yesterday, RPC claimed that the industry had filed a record number of trademark registrations in 2018 (2,482), a 12% hike from the previous year when 2,210 trademarks were registered for those categories. In 2016, 1,570 trademarks were registered.

According to RPC, the number of new brands and products made from gin, tequila and whisky, among others, is rising as global drinks manufacturers respond to a craft spirits boom by launching innovative flavours and unusual colours.

Ciara Cullen, RPC’s head of food and drink, said: “A lot of multinational distillers are now bringing out extra lines and limited runs of niche drinks, to compete with independents that have started to bite into their market share.”

In the UK, the number of distillery businesses has increased by 21% in just one year to 205 in 2018, up from 170 in 2017. Meanwhile, flavoured gins enjoyed a record year in 2018, with a 751% increase in sales in the UK, according to the Wine & Spirits Trade Association 2018 market report.

Ben Mark, IP partner at RPC added: “Failure to adequately protect that IP can result in brand value becoming diluted by rivals launching copycat products. Should that end in litigation, having trademarks in place is crucial.”

WIPR has reported on a number of IP disputes in the alcohol industry across the globe this year.

The UK Intellectual Property Office partially invalidated a trademark owned by Scottish distillery Glenkeir Whiskies, after an opposition by a subsidiary of hotel group Marriott International in July.

Earlier this year, in February, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) obtained victory in a six-year legal battle to stop a German distillery from selling a whisky called ‘Glen Buchenbach’.

In the beer sector, the number of trademarks registered for beer more than doubled between 2010 (1,072) and 2017 (2,372), where it reached a record high.

In September this year, a Manchester-based brewery announced it was rebranding its alcohol-free soda after Heineken allegedly used “heavy handed tactics”.

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More on this story

22 October 2018   The number of new trademarks registered for beer in the UK increased by 20% last year to reach a record high of 2,372 (up from 1,983 in 2016), according to a report released today by professional services firm RPC.
31 July 2018   The number of trademarks registered for spirits and liqueurs in the UK has increased by 84% over the last five years, according to figures released yesterday by professional services firm RPC.