By James Atkinson

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has successfully challenged a Chinese company's bid to trademark a wine brand that was a clear imitation of its Wolf Blass imprint.

Guorong Xu sought to register the Kensington brand featuring the perched eagle logo pictured below.

Jock McDonagh of the Australian Trademarks Office said that as the the second ranked still bottled wine brand in Australia by value, Wolf Blass clearly had an established reputation in this market, with gross sales in the eight years prior of some $100 million.

He said there was "real likelihood that the average consumer will wonder or be left in doubt" whether the Kensington wines were a sub-brand extension of Wolf Blass.

TWE director of group corporate affairs, Roger Sharp, told TheShout the Kensington logo was "a fairly direct and blatant rip-off of the Wolf Blass eagle".

He said the company was very pleased with the decision, which would be instructive for authorities in China, where new trademark laws came into effect on May 1.

"It's a very strong lever for us to demonstrate prior association and prior ownership, verified by the trademark authorities in the country of origin."

Sharp said recent media coverage of TWE's issues surrounding the Penfolds trademark in China were completely overblown.

"We have over 80 brands, we're the world's largest listed wine business. On any given day there are a whole range of trademark issues that we're dealing with," he said.

"Any branded entity that is doing business in China has these challenges," said Sharp.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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