BRAZIL: SPI retains Stolichnaya ownership
SPI Group has retained the rights to the Stolichnaya vodka brand name in Brazil.
Brazil's federal court has rejected another bid by Soyuzplodoimport to reinstate a decision overturned by the court in August that allowed it to sell vodka under the Stolichnaya brand on the Brazilian market alongside the products distributed by SPI, the group said in a statement.
The court has subsequently confirmed its earlier ruling that the exclusive rights to sell Stolichnaya vodka in the country should remain with SPI.
Russia's state-owned company Soyuzplodoimport and SPI have been disputing the brand's ownership since 2002.
In 2003, the World Intellectual Property Organisation ruled that the Stolichnaya brand, as well as some other famous brands, should belong to Soyuzplodoimport, and not to SPI, also known, confusingly, as ZAO Soyuzplodimport. The only difference between the names of the two companies is the letter 'o'.
Soyuzplodoimport sold its rights to the brands to Soyuzplodimport (SPI) in 1997. Critics said that the vodka trademarks were sold for US$300,000, while the market price for just two brands, Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, was estimated at US$400m at the time.
The patent authorities of France, Hungary, Cuba, Vietnam, Poland and Macedonia have refused to register the ownership of the brands. SPI has also won court battles on the brands' ownership in the Holland, Austria and Azerbaijan.
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