PepsiCo Greater China has said it will act on the court verdict ordering it to hand back a cola recipe to Tianfu Cola Group Corp.

Last month, Tianfu Cola Group Corp won a ruling against the China unit of PepsiCo, its former joint-venture partner. A court in Chongqing ordered PepsiCo to stop selling Tianfu Cola and return the recipe. However, the court rejected Tianfu's request for CNY1m (US$150,000) in damages.

"The court rejected all the allegations of infringement or claims for compensation by the plaintiff," PepsiCo Greater China said yesterday (10 January). "It further upholds that the use of the Tianfu formula and related techniques by the JV Chongqing Pepsi-Tianfu Beverages Co was legitimate and constituted no infringement whatsoever.

"The JV Chongqing Pepsi-Tianfu Beverages Co, the legitimate owner of Tianfu Trademark as confirmed by the court, will act on the court verdict and pass the relevant data to the former partner ahead of expiration of the said contract," it added.

Tianfu set up the joint-venture with PepsiCo in 1994, however because of its debts, in 2006 Tianfu had to sell its 40% stake in the joint venture to PepsiCo, while the brand of Tianfu Coke was left in the joint-venture.

Local reports have claimed that Tianfu will now file another lawsuit to reclaim the Tianfu brand on the grounds that the transfer of the brand to Chongqing Pepsi-Tianfu Beverage Co was invalid.

Qian Huang, general manager of China Tianfu Cola Group, told China Daily yesterday that regaining the formula will be "a new start" for the company. The firm said it has plans to expand the cola range with juices, sodas and functional drinks.