The owner of Penfolds has said it is confident of winning a legal battle to protect the wine label in China, after it emerged the group has been targeted by brand squatters in the country.
A Chinese individual using the name Li Daozhi has claimed trademark rights to Penfolds‘ Chinese name, ‘Ben Fu’.
He is believed to be the same person currently engaged in a similar trademark dispute with French wine group Castel.
While there are no precise sales figures for Penfolds in China, the country is considered a strong emerging market for the brand; particularly among luxury wine buyers.
The latest news is an extra problem for Treasury in China, after it reported earlier this year that wine sales in China had been curtailed by government austerity measures.
A Treasury Wine Estates spokesperson told DecanterChina.com that the firm is engaged in legal action to ‘ensure the integrity of the brand’.
He said Treasury ‘is confident it is the lawful owner of the trademark for Ben Fu in China’. The firm’s initial legal challenge was successful, but the individual – whom Treasury did not name – has appealed the court’s decision.
‘This appeal is still pending and it will take time for the Chinese legal system to process this matter. We remain totally committed to protecting our flagship Penfolds brand.’
According to Australian Financial Review, which first broke the story, Li Daozhi had registered three versions of the Ben Fu name in Chinese.
Written by Chris Mercer