On Tuesday, Russia’s state-owned company, Sojuzplodoimport (Союзплодоимпорт) won a case in a court in the Netherlands that ruled that the company is the rightful owner of the Stoli and Stolichnaya trademarks in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The opposing party in the case is the SPI Group (Spirits International), founded by billionaire businessman Yuri Shefler in 1997. He maintains he bought the rights to the trademarks after they became privatized following the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, the Russian government disputes the legitimacy of this acquisition. In the latest court ruling, SPI has been ordered to repay profits made from Stolichnaya in the Benelux region since 1999 and to stop using the trademarks there.
Sojuzplodoimport is engaged in court battles with SPI all over the world over those trademarks because SPI and its affiliates have registered them in over 180 countries. SPI does not own the trademarks in Russia. Last year, SPI’s court cases in the US and Australia were suspended due to the Russian Federation’s failure to produce relevant documents. However, in Brazil, the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed SPI’s legal ownership of the Stolichnaya trademarks.
Photo by Yuri Samoilov – https://www.flickr.com/photos/yuri_samoilov/10063501675/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49310001