A trademark dispute between the owner of Wild Geese Irish whiskey brand Lodestar Anstalt and Bacardi has taken a curious turn, with the former being granted legal permission to investigate whether its chairman was put under surveillance by Bacardi.

The two companies locked horns in 2014, when Lodestar predecessor Avalon Group launched an online campaign highlighting the similarities between Wild Geese's 'Untamed' tagline and Bacardi's use of 'Untameable' in a campaign dating back to late-2013. The dispute spilt out to litigation in 2016.

In a statement yesterday, Lodestar said US magistrate judge Frederick Mumm has ruled that the company "has the right to establish whether Bacardi spied on the chairman of rival Lodestar and his wife". Andre Levy was the subject of attempts by Bacardi to "intimidate witnesses", the statement added.

When contacted by just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Bacardi declined to comment on the case.

Earlier this year, Bacardi took full ownership of Patron Tequila in a transaction that saw the group move from stakeholder to outright owner of the high-end Tequila market leader.

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