SPI Group wins Stoli trademark case in BrazilBy Nicola Carruthers
SPI Group has won a lawsuit against a state-run Russian company in Brazil over the continuous battle for the Stolichnaya vodka trademark.
On Tuesday (31 October), the Federal Court of Appeal of Brazil confirmed SPI Group’s ownership of trademark, with the judge ruling 3-0 in favour of the company.
It follows a 12-year-long dispute over who inherited the vodka brand when the Soviet Union collapsed – either the Russian Federation and FTE or the privatised “successor” to the Soviet firm that sold Stoli during the Cold War.
The decision marks a further defeat for Russian firm FKP Sojuzplodoimport (FKP) and three other related parties. It follows the Federal Court of Rio de Janeiro’s decision made in March 2016 ruling in SPI’s favour.
The judgment read by the Rapporteur Judge stated that: the 2001 judgment issued by the Russian court in favour of the Russian State would not suffice as grounds for FKP’s claims in Brazil, there was no evidence that VVO Sojuzplodoimport, the initial owner of the disputed trademarks, continued to exist as FGUP Sojuzplodoimport, and in any case, the claims are time-barred under the 5 year Brazilian Law statute of limitation.
SPI Group expected a “positive result” in Brazil since the claims in the long-standing dispute have no merit.
SPI and its affiliates own the Stolichnaya trademarks in more than 180 countries.
The Spirits Business has approached SPI Group for further comment.
In April last year, a recently revived dispute regarding trademark rights to Stolichnaya vodka headed to the US Supreme Court.