UDV will appeal against the ruling last week in the Russian territorial court of Karasnodar that banned the sale and distillation of its vodka brand Smirnoff.

The ruling upheld a judgement made last year in favour of the Trading House of PA Smirnov and is part of an ongoing battle between UDV and the Trading House over the ownership of the Smirnoff trademark.

But UDV remained confident the ruling could be overturned. "We've had this dispute for several years," a spokesman for UDV told just-drinks.com. "I haven't counted the separate legal cases but they must run into the tens or hundreds. In all those cases where a final adjudication has been reached we've won."

The spokesman said he wasn't afraid that the ruling would set a precedent among other district courts in Russia and said that it wasn't even clear whether this ruling would be enforced.

"There are all sorts of avenues to explore," he said of an appeal. "The decision is in principle and doesn't force us [to stop producing]. They then have to get an order to enforce."

Meanwhile, through a press release, the management at the Trading House said it would continue to protect its legitimate rights to use the Smirnov trademark and said it would announce shortly what it plans to do next to protect its rights.