The battle for control of trademarks to Russia's premier vodka brands has spilled over into Germany, according to the Moscow Times yesterday.

A report says a German court has issued an injunction banning sales of Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, whose international trading rights are still held by the privately-owned Soyuzplodimport (SPI).

A spokeswoman for the Hamburg district court was quoted as saying that Simex, SPI's importer in the country, has been issued with an injunction forbidding it from selling the products, because the brands are labelled "genuine Russian vodka" and "imported from Russia", when they are actually produced in Latvia.

The injunction is a result of a complaint from another importer of Russian goods Dovgan GmbH.

Since the Russian government reclaimed the domestic rights for such brands as Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya for itself, SPI has had its production base in Russian shut down, which it has now moved to Latvia. However it has always claimed that as it imports the spirit from which the brands are made from Russia it can still call its products Russian.

SPI believes that the Russian state-owned vodka business Soyuzplodoimport is behind the injunction, a claim Soyuzplodoimport denies.

For its part, Simex said it had heard nothing of the injunction and that it was receiving shipments as normal.