Increased protection for Australian wine brands

Wine Australia today launched its Export Label Image Search System (ELISS) to help Australian wine producers protect their intellectual property rights.

Development of this public-facing online directory was supported by the Australian Government’s

$50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.

From today, images of labels must be provided to Wine Australia as a precursor to gaining export approval for packaged products.

Brand owners will be able to search ELISS to identify potential breaches of their intellectual property rights, while members of the public overseas will be able to verify whether the Australian wine brands they purchase originated in Australia.

Australian Grape & Wine, Australia’s peak grape and wine advocacy organisation, identified the need to establish a Wine Export Label Directory as a key step in strengthening protection for Australian wine labels against fraudulent activity.

Wine Australia General Manager Corporate Affairs and Regulation Rachel Triggs said the system would make it easy for consumers and distributors to identify genuine Australian wines, with about 25,000 labels per year eventually expected to be listed across 111 different markets.

“This is something the sector, through Australian Grape & Wine, lobbied very hard to introduce and ensure the protections were legislated. Wine Australia is now stepping up to make that protection a reality.”

Ms Triggs said the searchable images would be low resolution and watermarked, but they would allow people to establish who exported the wine, when and the destination market.

“The software we have implemented allows search using text or images so that potential trademark or copyright breaches can be easily identified. This will deter the production of copycat brands that seek to leverage from the well-established reputation of Australian wine brands.”

Ms Triggs said changes to the export approval process would be minimal. Wine Australia’s existing export software system WALAS had been adapted to make the inclusion of labels an integral part of export approval, while ELISS derived the labels and export information from WALAS.

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