Australian court finds for Wild Geese Irish whiskey in Pernod Ricard, Gruppo Campari legal row
The Wild Geese Irish whiskey range is poised to launch in Australia following the legal ruling
The Wild Geese Irish whiskey brand has hailed the decision of Australia's Federal Court to find in its favour in a legal wrangle involving Gruppo Campari's Wild Turkey Bourbon in the country.
Wild Geese owner Lodestar Anstalt said today that the Federal Court has handed down a "unanimous decision" in its favour concerning the Wild Geese trademark. Lodestar had originally registered the mark in the country in 2000. However, the company's failure to launch the whiskey in Australia, coupled with a subsequent application for Wild Geese by Wild Geese Wines in the country, prompted a protracted legal battle with Wild Turkey's previous owner, Pernod Ricard, and its subsequent owner, Gruppo Campari.
Pernod, which offloaded Wild Turkey to Campari for US$575m in 2009, secured an agreement with the Adelaide-based owner of Wild Geese Wines over the mark through its then-US unit Austin Nichols in 2007.
"This latest action has subsequently found that while the Wild Geese trademark had been used by Wild Turkey (through Wild Geese Wines) between 2007 and 2010, it was done so incorrectly," Lodestar said today.
Wild Geese co-founder & chairman Ándre Levy added: "The Wild Geese Irish whiskey has been involved in a 14-year legal battle with Pernod Ricard involving over 50 separate actions around the world, all of which we have successfully defended. These actions sought to limit the market access of the Wild Geese Irish Whiskey and other smaller independent brands of which we are a representative."
When contacted by just-drinks, a Campari spokesperson said: "As a general approach, Gruppo Campari usually does not comment on judicial matters."
As well as granting Lodestar's appeal, the court awarded indemnity costs.
Late last year, The Wild Geese called for an established wholesale market for bulk Irish whiskey. The company commissioned research into the sector, which found that there are presently only 12 whiskey distilleries in Ireland. Ruling the roost is Pernod, through its Middleton distillery near Cork that produces market leader Jameson.
To read the Federal Court's full ruling, click here.
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