ICB will be allowed to continue using the term Vodkat

ICB will be allowed to continue using the term Vodkat

InterContinental Brands has been given clearance to continue using the name Vodkat, despite losing a legal battle against Diageo over the brand name.

Last month, the UK-based owner of Vodkat, a 22% abv mix of fermented alcohol and vodka, was ruled to have been passing off the product as vodka. Diageo, which had brought the case in September 2008, hailed the decision as recognition that “vodka is a term worthy of protection”.

The High Court decided yesterday (2 February), however, that InterContinental Brands (ICB) will still be permitted to use the Vodkat name, providing that the packaging states clearly that the product is not vodka.

ICB welcomed the ruling, with company director Paul Burton saying: “We have never sought to mislead consumers with the branding of VODKAT. ICB will now be taking further steps in its labelling, advertising and trade information to make it absolutely clear that our product Vodkat is not vodka.”

The firm also said that it will ensure Vodkat is positioned away from vodka, and alongside products such as liqueurs, other schnapps and light spirit products.

A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks today: “The injunction imposed on ICB yesterday states that ICB can only use the Vodkat brand name if they ensure the product is “clearly distinguished” from vodka.

"The judge indicated that in his view ICB would have “a small mountain to climb” to find a way in which it could do this whilst retaining the Vodkat brand name, but that is a matter for them, with contempt of court being the sanction if they breach the injunction.

“Provided consumers are not being deceived and the vodka category is not being harmed, then we are satisfied.”

The European Union definition in law of vodka states that it must be made of 100% distilled alcohol and at least 37.5% abv.