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Wild Geese wins case to launch in Australia

Avalon Group’s Wild Geese Irish Whiskey brand is now free to launch in the Australian market following the conclusion of trademark case against Pernod Ricard in the country.

The Wild Geese has won an long-running trade mark case in Australia against Pernod Ricard and Gruppo Campari

Five Australian Federal Court judges have ruled in favour of an appeal by the Wild Geese over a long-running dispute concerning 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.

According to the company, 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.

The judges ruled in favour of The Wild Geese and awarded indemnity costs.

“This is an important day for us and the Irish whiskey industry as a whole,” commented Ándre Levy, co-founder and chairman, The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey.

“The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey has been involved in a 14-year legal battle with Pernod Ricard involving over 50 separate actions around the world, all of which we have successfully defended. This includes the USA where The Wild Geese is sold as The Wild Geese Soldiers & Heroes.

“We continue to fight for our right to contribute to the Irish whiskey category which we have been a part of since 1999. Therefore, to ensure our continued growth and success, we have been forced to buy Irish whiskey at a premium from third parties who have been able to access whiskey that we are unable to purchase directly from large producers.”

The Spirits Business approached both Gruppo Campari and Pernod Ricard for comment.

“As a general approach Gruppo Campari usually does not comment on judicial matters,” a company spokesperson said.

Both Pernod Ricard has yet to respond.

The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey launched an online campaign against Bacardi in 2014 in response to the alleged trademark infringement of the latter’s Untameable marketing campaign.

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