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William Grant & Sons takes New Zealand Whisky Company to court

Published:  23 August, 2013

Global Scottish whisky giant William Grant & Sons is taking Dunedin DoubleWood, part of the New Zealand Whisky Company, to court, claiming the DoubleWood name confuses consumers with its Balvenie brand's DoubleWood.

Dunedin DoubleWood argues consumers are not confused, as its branded bottle has a map of New Zealand on it and says "New Zealand" in large letters on the label.

The Kiwi distiller disputes it is in breach of the 1986 Fair Trading Act, arguing that although Balvenie has been producing the DoubleWood branded whisky since 1993, it did not trademark the name until last year in New Zealand, five years after the Dunedin whisky brand started selling.

The 10 Year- Old Dunedin DoubleWood received some media attention last year after being namde World's Best at the Whisky Olympics, a whisky competition, in the US.

Balvenie whisky has been produced for over 120 years. William Grant & Sons is seeking to protect the DoubleWood brand as part of its long heritage and international brand recognition, said Auckland lawyers Simpson Grierson, who represent William Grant & Sons.