Russia Regains Rights to Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya Vodka Brands
On July 24, 2012, the Hague Court of Appeal ruled that trademark rights to the popular vodka brands Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya belong to the Russian Federation and not the Dutch-based Spirits International company, part of the Luxemburg-registered SPI Group, owned by the Russian tycoon Yuri Scheffler.
Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya trademarks have been the objects of a dispute between the Russian government and the SPI Group for over 10 years.
Scheffler claimed that he legally acquired the rights to the brands after the state-owned vodka producer Soyuzplodoimport was privatized.
On the other hand, the Russian state authorities argued that Scheffler illegally purchased the rights to 43 Soviet vodka brands for USD 300,000 (EUR 243,000) in 1997 and granted licenses to various vodka manufacturers all over the world. The Russian authorities invalidated the purchase in 2001 and transferred the rights to Soyuzplodoimport, which began legal proceedings against the SPI Group in various countries.
The Dutch court also prohibited the defendant from using “Russkaya Vodka” (Russian Vodka) and “Sdelano v Rossii” (Made in Russia) on vodka labels.
Prepared by: Jelena Jankovic
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Source: Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI)
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