THE distillers and consumers of Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and all the other Scotch whiskies that have glen in their names can all sleep easier tonight after a German court ruled that “Glen” cannot be used as a whisky name by would-be foreign competitors.

The family Klotz-owned Waldhorn Distillery near Stuttgart in Germany proved to be clots when they called their version of the water of life Glen Buchenbach.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) called foul five years ago and took the distillers to court, arguing that the use of Glen on a German whisky was misleading.

Though a European Union advocate sided with the distillery at first, the case went to back to a Hamburg court and the SWA successfully argued that the use of the word “Glen” gave the impression that the bottle might contain Scotch which has geographical protection under EU law. Owner Michael Klotz can appeal the decision to the Hanseatic Oberlandesgericht Higher Regional Court, but must do so within a month.

Alan Park, SWA director of legal affairs, said: “The SWA has consistently taken action in our global markets to prevent the use of Scottish indications of origin on whisky which is not Scotch whisky. This is vital to protecting Scotland’s national drink and is a deterrent to those who seek to take advantage of the quality reputation of Scotch whisky and potentially mislead consumers.

Courts across many jurisdictions have ruled that names, such as “Highland” and “Glen”, and images, such as bagpipers, are so strongly associated with Scotland and Scotch whisky that their use on whisky of another origin is misleading.

“Our case against Glen Buchenbach presented clear and compelling evidence to the court that ‘Glen’ is strongly associated with Scotland and Scotch whisky, and the only reason to use ‘Glen’ for a German whisky is because of its undoubted association with Scotch.”