An appeal to the Arbitration Court of the Penza Region was received back in June from the trademark owner, Nemiroff Intellectual Property Establishment, registered in Liechtenstein.
The plaintiff demands to ban the holding from using the brand in the production and sale of alcohol and recognize all the actions of the defendant after February 1, 2022 as a violation of their rights. The application has been accepted for production, but the parties are in no hurry. So far, they have been familiarizing themselves with the materials of the case, and the arbitration has appointed him to the trial on November 2.
The conflict between the copyright holder and the manufacturer began immediately after the SVO. Nemiroff is a Ukrainian brand, like the notorious Khortytsya, its main production is located in the Vinnitsa region, the company, according to its own calculations, is the largest exporter of vodka in Ukraine, supplying more than 80 countries. But against the backdrop of a special operation, its sales have declined significantly. Nemiroff lost more than half in 2022, 57.1%, exports fell to 21.6 million liters.
Immediately after the start of the JWO, the company announced that it was revoking the license. Nemiroff CEO Yuri Sorochinsky said that the latest licensee is an independent manufacturer in Penza. But, according to the Federal Accreditation Service, since the beginning of 2023, the United Penza Vodka Plants have received several declarations for the production of vodkas and tinctures under the Nemiroff brand. Officially, the Penza holding does not comment on the conflict with the owner of the brand.
Now the Nemiroff brand occupies the 11th place in terms of sales among vodka brands in the Russian Federation and a significant volume of OPVZ production, this is it. It will be difficult to replace it in a way that does not lose customers and avoids similarities to the point of confusion. There is still experience of such a replacement, the Global Spirits holding, which owns the Khortytsya brand, also revoked the license to produce its vodka in Russia, but local manufacturing plants managed to replace it by launching their Khorta brand.
As Anatoly Semyonov, director of the Association of Parallel Imports, explained, if Nemiroff wins the court case, all OPVZ products under its brand will have to be recognized as counterfeit, which means they must be seized and destroyed. However, it is not a fact that the copyright holder will insist on this and also sue retailers.
Experts do not exclude that there may be some informal agreements between the Russian vodka producer and the foreign owner of the brand, thanks to which the plant in Penza still used the brand. The court may turn out to be risk insurance, since there are no financial requirements for the defendant, and Nemiroff has reason to demand double the proceeds from sales of its vodka, released after the license was revoked. However, even if there were financial claims, there is little chance of getting this money from the plaintiff.
Help “BV”. United Penza Vodka Plants LLC was established in Pengza in 2005. Since 2019, the sole owner of the company is Lyudmila Apoyan. The holding includes 2 enterprises located in the Penza region, Nizhnelomovsky and Kuznetsk distilleries. Enterprises produce strong alcoholic drinks, including vodka under the brand name “Golden Petushok”, “Kuznetskaya”, “Lomovskaya”, “Russian Parliament” and others, as well as numerous tinctures, rum, whiskey, wine, alcoholic cocktails, as well as a wide range of non-alcoholic fruit drinks and kvass. The company’s revenue in 2022 amounted to 7.2 billion rubles.