Court denies Campari trademark appeal

6th December, 2016 by Amy Hopkins

The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey is set to launch in Australia after Wild Turkey Bourbon owner Campari America lost its bid to appeal the High Court’s previous trademark ruling.

The-Wild-Geese-vs-Bacardi

The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey is now seeking distribution in Australia

In July this year, Avalon Group-owned Irish whiskey brand Wild Geese won its long-running trademark battle with Campari in Australia.

The High Court of Australia has now rejected Campari’s request to overturn the unanimous decision by Five Australian Federal Court judges. The dispute concerned the non-use of trademarks by Wild Turkey.

Avalon Group says Pernod Ricard took assignment of the ‘Wild Geese’ trademark to prevent The Wild Geese from entering the Australian market to compete with Jameson.

The action was “initiated” by Pernod Ricard in 2002 and “taken up” by Gruppo Campari when it acquired the Wild Turkey brand in 2013 for US$575 million. In total, the activity “comprised several geographies and over 14 years”, says Avalon Group.

Pernod Ricard took assignment of the Wild Geese trademark from Wild Geese Wines in Australia in 2007. The judges found that the ‘Wild Geese’ brand name was used by Wild Turkey between 2007 and 2010 and was done so incorrectly.

Following the ruling and subsequent rejection of Campari’s appeal request, the Wild Geese Irish Whiskey can now enter the Australian market and Campari cannot use the ‘Wild Geese’ trademark on its products in Australia.

“We are delighted that the High Court has effectively endorsed the original unanimous decision that grants us the basic right as a business to use our name,” said Andre Levy, co-founder and chairman of The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey.

“This is just one part of a larger battle that we have been engaged in for the past 14 years that has included over 50 actions across several geographies.”

Levy told The Spirits Business that the Wild Geese has two outstanding trademark disputes in other markets, and confirmed the brand is seeking distribution in Australia.

He continued: “It is our belief that dominant players cannot simply be allowed to eliminate competition because of their position and that people will be shocked to discover the real story behind these actions.”

Wild Geese sources its whiskey through third parties, claiming it has not been able to purchase liquid directly from large distillers.

A spokesperson for Campari said: “As a general approach Gruppo Campari usually does not comment on judicial matters.”

Pernod Ricard has not yet responded to The Spirits Business’s request for comment.

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