SPI Group, parent company of Stoli Group, is extremely disappointed in the ruling as we firmly believe it is not correct in light of the facts and the relevant law. We are examining all of our options with our lawyers and next steps.
The ruling is only for the BeNeLux market and so the decision affects a very small part of our overall global marketplace. SPI Group still owns the Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya trademarks in over 190 countries across the world, but not in Russia. The Stolichnaya sold within Russia is a different vodka, owned by an unrelated state-controlled entity called FKP.
The decision is the result of a long effort by the Russian government to confiscate the Stolichnaya trademarks, purchased legitimately by SPI from private shareholders and not from the state. The trouble between SPI and the Russian Federation started with an order from President Putin in 2000. Since that time, SPI has been in litigation all over the world to protect its claim.
While the Benelux judgement is a setback for the company, we have had recent successes in courts in other jurisdictions in respect of the same trademarks, such as Chile, Austria and the United States.