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A new intellectual property system is being developed to help protect Australian wine brands against copycat exports.

The new Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory aims to help protect Australia’s wine industry from ‘knock-off’ products overseas.

The planned directory is part of a $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package from the Australian government that, according to minister for agriculture David Littleproud, is designed to “bring greater transparency of exported labels to prevent dodgy copies”.

“Copycat export wines mimic Australian brands by copying our labels,” Littleproud said. “This rips off our producers and it also ruins the reputation of our wine when customers expect a quality Australian wine and receive a cheap knock-off.”

The publicly accessible directory will help protect Australian wine by identifying potential copycat labels when all Australian wine exporters are required to submit images of their labels prior to gaining export certification.

“It will be searchable by image elements, brand name and publication date and will display the trademarked image of labels, the exporter ABN, brand name and date the label was published to the directory,” Littleproud said.

The proposed directory means copycat wine exporters can be can be stripped of their export licence with additional significant punishments for those who breach the law as well the possibility of private legal action being taken by wine producers who have been copied.

Australian wine exports are forecast to top 800 megalitres in 2017-18, with a value of more than $2.8 billion.

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