Scotch Whisky gets top legal protection across 17 African countries
15 Sep 2015
Registered as a geographical indication in OAPI
Scotch Whisky has been registered as a geographical indication
(GI) - a whisky produced in Scotland in accordance with UK law - in
the 17 member countries of the Organisation Africaine de la
Propriete Intellectuelle (OAPI).
This gives Scotch Whisky a high level of legal protection
against fakes across OAPI, which makes up more than a fifth of the
geographical area of Africa and has a population of more than 150
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), the industry trade body
responsible for the application, understands that Scotch is the
first spirit drink to be protected as a GI in OAPI. Scotch must be
made in Scotland from water, cereals and yeast and matured for at
least three years.
Andrew Swift, legal counsel with the SWA, said: "This is a
significant step forward in the protection of Scotch Whisky. OAPI
covers a vast area with a growing population. Demand for Scotch
from countries in OAPI is growing. Between 2005 and 2014, Scotch
exports to all OAPI countries increased by 275% to £13.6 million
from just under £5m. Geographical indication status is of great
value to the Scotch Whisky industry and ensures we have the tools
we need to protect consumers and stop unfair competition."
GI registration for Scotch in OAPI comes just months after the
same legal recognition in Botswana. Scotch is now officially
recognised in the laws of nearly 100 countries, including the whole
of the European Union.
The British High Commissioner to Cameroon, Brian Olley, who
attended a signing ceremony this month in Yaoundé, OAPI's
headquarters, said: "This is an historic moment and a practical
step forward in providing protection to guard against improper use
of the name Scotch Whisky.
"I am delighted that the British High Commission has been able
to play a part in contributing to this important progress in
protecting consumers in Africa."
Notes to editors
OAPI comprises: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African
Republic, Chad, Comoros, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gabon,
Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Republic of Congo,
Senegal and Togo.
The application was submitted by the SWA in January 2014, with
the support of the British High Commission.
Only products that have a specific geographical origin and possess
a quality and a reputation or other characteristic associated with
that origin qualify for GI status. That means Scotch Whisky is
recognised as a product that must be made exclusively in Scotland
in accordance with UK law.
GIs were first formally recognised in the World Trade
Organisation Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights in 1994. All WTO members must protect a GI from
misuse. The Scotch Whisky Association is registering Scotch Whisky
as a GI in as many countries as possible.
With media queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher, Scotch
Whisky Association head of communications, 0044 131 222 9230 or
0044 7432 605385, email firstname.lastname@example.org