We were relieved and happy to receive this open letter from Lorien and Kevin Cameron-Ross, (founders of Loch Ness Spirits, who have been distilling Loch Ness Gin on the banks of the iconic Loch since 2015), that outlines a court decision that finally puts an end to a shocking and upsetting legal battle for them to keep their name. As a respected independent Scottish Gin maker, we have been behind the team throughout this upsetting time and we’re very happy to see this outcome. Read their letter below:
After nearly three years of defending our legitimate trademarks, the appeal to have them invalidated by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky has been dismissed. To say this is a relief is an understatement.
We live on the banks of Loch Ness in an area where our family have been living for more than 500 years. At Loch Ness Spirits, we distil our products on-site, using botanicals that are picked from the land around us. We use our own pure water supply and bottle our products here too.
When we launched our company, we couldn’t conceive calling it anything else. We literally are Loch Ness Spirits.
We have built up our company little by little since 2015 and we have registered the relevant trademarks, without incident, along the way.
In February 2018, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky requested that we immediately stop applying the mark LOCH NESS to any alcoholic beverages, assign them the mark LOCH NESS WHISKY and to change the name of our company to something not including LOCH NESS.
We couldn’t quite believe it when a multi-million pound, independent bottling company, with no understandable connection to Loch Ness, then applied to the Intellectual Property Office to invalidate our LOCH NESS trademarks. Right from the start, we asked for proof of their claim and to this date, we have not seen any, despite nearly 3 years of an exhausting dispute.
When we won the case in December 2019, we hoped that we could start looking forward again and concentrate our energies on building our company. However, our hopes were short-lived when Duncan Taylor launched an appeal. It’s been a tough year waiting for this process to play out but we can finally rest and recharge, now that the Appointed Person has dismissed their appeal.
Having felt threatened, bullied and forced to defend our authentic local brand, we are heartened at this correct and just outcome. We have also been overwhelmed by the enormous support we have had locally and beyond. There are thousands of kindred Loch Ness Spirits who have backed us the whole way through. We are looking forward to continuing to craft our spirits at our home on the banks of Loch Ness, giving them the provenance that they rightly deserve.”
Given the high value that others appear to have put on the iconic name Loch Ness, we want to ask the local community if they feel the same. If so, we would suggest that there should be explorations about geographical protection for the region or some other way to ensure the name Loch Ness remains legally connected to the locality.
Photography by www.paulcampbellphotography.co.uk
Links to IPO decisions
- Hearing Officer Ruling December 2019
- Appointed Person Appeal Decision September 2020