Diageo has filed a lawsuit against the UK-based Vodkat spirits brand, accusing it of breaking EU rules.

Diageo, owner of Smirnoff, said today (8 September) that it had filed legal action against Vodkat owner Intercontinental Brands.

It has accused the group of passing Vodkat off as vodka, in "breach of regulations on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks".

New EU regulations on spirit drinks carry strict definitions for vodka, as well as other spirits. Diageo's suit may be viewed as test case for the new rules.

Vodkat's UK website describes the drink as "a premium vodka blend spirit mix".

Intercontinental Brands, based in Harrogate, told just-drinks today that it "would be defending the allegations vigorously".