Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

TWE declares war on Rush Rich and other ‘copycat operators’

Published:  16 February, 2018

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is embroiled in yet another legal challenge, this time against a label which it claims intentionally riffs off the look and feel of one of its flagship Australian brands.

TWE is currently mounting a legal challenge against ‘copycat operator’ Rush Rich over infringements that allegedly exploit TWE’s Penfolds brand in Australia and China, including unauthorised use of the BEN FU trade mark (the Chinese transliteration for Penfolds).

Today, TWE CEO Michael Clarke called out the “predatory behaviour” of a “number of copycat operators” including Rush Rich, against which Treasury has initiated legal proceedings.

Back in 2016, Treasury was accused of similar infringements by Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (SLWC) and its parent company Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (SMWE), over the use of the brand name 'The Stag' in the US.

SLWC and SMWE alleged the marketing and branding for TWE's launch, The Stag, which is made from Australian vines in Vitoria, had been intentionally designed to confuse consumers into thinking it was linked with the Stags Leap Wine made in Napa, although the complaint was later dismissed by a judge. 

TWE said the case against Rush Rich is one example of a strategy to take legal action both in Australia and internationally – including the ‘particularly concerning’ issue of bulk wine suppliers and third party bottlers in South Australia who, Treasury claims, are intentionally imitating the Penfolds brand.

Clarke said: “There is no doubt that the Penfolds brand has played an instrumental role in the success Brand Australia is enjoying overseas. With this success comes the predatory behaviour of sophisticated copycat operators, which is bad for consumers, bad for Australian brand owners and bad for the Australian wine industry."

"We are putting on notice any bad faith operators in Australia - and anyone working with these operators - that this exploitation will not be tolerated,” Clarke added.