Protecting Scotch

One of the key priorities of the SWA is to safeguard the Scotch Whisky category and prevent unfair competition.

We also aim to secure a quality definition of 'whisky' in our main export markets.

The Legal Affairs Department (LAD), with its five lawyers, paralegal and two data assistants, is primarily responsible for the protection of the Scotch Whisky trade. At any one time the team will be handling between 60 to 70 cases and a substantial trade mark case load.

The Legal Affairs Department's three main tasks:

  • To act as the guardian of the regulatory framework
  • To stop infringements of the laws relating to Scotch Whisky
  • To provide advice to members and non-members on compliance with the law

The Legal Affairs Department (LAD) does not carry out brand protection - that is the responsibility of brand owners. 

LAD's responsibility is to stop any mis-representation that states or suggests a whisky is Scotch Whisky, or comes from Scotland, when that isn't the case. 

It also protects the industry from general forms of unfair competition to help ensure there is a level playing field between all brands sold as whisky, whatever the origin. 

Case Studies

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Local Spirits

There are many ways to market a spirit to suggest that it is Scotch Whisky when, in fact, it’s not. Read More

Misuse of Scottish names and images

Scotland-related names and devices

Local producers using names or devices associated with ScotlandRead More

Misleading references

Using misleading references to Scotch Whisky.Read More

Brands & Labels

Use of the same brand name or label for both a Scotch Whisky and a different type of whisky or spirit.Read More

"Scotch Type"

Use of descriptions such as “Scotch like” and “Scotch style”.Read More

The Language of Scotch

Use of the English language and absence of a clear indication of origin.Read More

False Age

Misleading age claimsRead More

Misleading Use of 'Whisky'

Misleading use of the description “whisky”Read More