Diageo has claimed victory in its long-running dispute with Intercontinental Brands’ Vodkat.
ICB will be forced to ditch the Vodkat brand name and alter its packaging under the terms of a final settlement to the two-year tussle, making it clear to consumers that the drink is not vodka. ICB will also pay the Smirnoff owner a “substantial sum” in damages and legal costs.
“We are pleased to have finally reached a settlement with ICB and that ICB has recognised that the use of the name Vodkat – or indeed, any ‘vod’-prefixed brand name – on a product that is not vodka is likely to confuse consumers,” said Diageo managing director Simon Litherland.
In July, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier High Court ruling that Vodkat had been unlawfully passed off as vodka.
Diageo said the outcome would protect both producers and consumers from other “vodka lookalike” products.
“ICB has agreed to change the Vodkat brand name and packaging and will launch a new product from January–February 2011,” ICB said in a statement.
A separate announcement on the new product would be made “in due course”.
The last day ICB can ship out new stock to wholesalers and retailers is 31 January, but existing stocks can remain on sale.
Absolut settles name dispute with radio station (30 April 2010)
ICB to revamp Vodkat after court ruling (3 February 2010)
Vodkat confident Diageo win will not affect supply (23 January 2010)