Over a barrel

Penfolds w

In Chinese its name means ‘running to riches’, which is pretty catchy as far as most consumers are concerned. But the problem for Australian wine label Penfolds is that someone else claims to have trademarked its Chinese name – Ben Fu – first. This is creating headaches for the winery’s owner Treasury Estates, which is engaged in legal action to ensure the “integrity of the brand”.

Penfolds is facing off with an individual named Li Daozhi, although Treasury Estates says it “is confident it is the lawful owner of the trademark for Ben Fu in China” and that its initial legal challenge was successful. However, Li has subsequently appealed against the court’s decision.

Last August a ­Chinese court ordered French winemaker Castel to pay Rmb33.73 million ($5.43 million) to Li after a similar dispute. Castel has since abandoned its former Chinese name. After winning the case, Li said he wasn’t interested in the cash. His aim? To stop “trademark infringement” from those who “want to make money through copying famous brands”…

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