The application by Kweichow Moutai Co., Ltd for the trademark of "guojiu Moutai" (national liquor Moutai) has triggered a collective backlash from other liquor makers.
It was reported in late July that the application had passed the first review of the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. If there are no objections in the next three months or the objections are rejected, Moutai will officially and legally use the trademark. The Shanxi Fenjiu Group first stood up to voice its opposition on Monday, followed by more domestic brewery companies.
The Moutai group name has been targeting the "guojiu Moutai" trademark since 2001, but five of the nine applications were directly rejected as the name might have given it an unfair business advantage. It is a matter of great controversy that the 10th application has been approved.
Moutai is one of China's best known liquor brands and enjoys high market recognition in the country. It has long promoted itself as China's national liquor. Such a promotion is not opposed by the public or the market. But the official inclusion of "national" in its brand is another matter. If Moutai does eventually secure the trademark of "guojiu Moutai," it means that the reputation of the liquor is guaranteed by law at the national level, and the nation's credibility can be used as a tool for Moutai to make profits.
It is worth noting that China's trademark office issued the review standard of trademarks containing the word "national" in 2010. The standard states that application for trademarks such as "national tobacco" should be rejected. Therefore, the reasons why the 10th application has been approved should be made public, or it is unfair to other enterprises.
National credibility is the best guarantee for enterprises. Many enterprises are seeking this advantage to promote marketing. However, national guarantees can also burden the government. In recent years, government agencies have become increasingly unable to pay the price for lending the credibility of official agencies to certain enterprises. With the food security problem becoming increasingly severe, the country eliminated the qualification of "national inspection free" products in 2008.
Moutai has already been given preferential treatment by appearing in high profile events such as State banquets. Bestowing a greater advantage by including "national" in its brand is even more unfair to its competitors.