Ban of gray market imports of Guinness to Russia upheld
MOSCOW, August 19 (RAPSI) - Russia's Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling to ban Aqualife, a gray market importer of Guinness, from importing and distributing the beer in Russia, the court told RAPSI on Monday.
The court has thus rejected Aqualife's complaint. Gray market imports are goods imported from another country without the official manufacturer's consent.
An Aqualife representative said the company was very interested in the brand during the preliminary hearing. However, the lawyer of Diageo Ireland, producer and rights holder of the Guinness brand, objected, insisting that the company was simply using the brand.
In March, the Moscow Commercial Court satisfied a suit filed by Diadgeo Ireland against Aqualife.
Diageo was established in 1997, following the merger of Guinness and GrandMet. The London-headquartered company owns a number of brands, including Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, J&B, Captain Morgan, Cuervo, Tanqueray, and Crown Royal, as well as Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo sells its products in 180 countries. Its shares are listed on the New York and London stock exchanges.
Guinness is a beer brand owned by Diageo, initially associated with Irelands Arthur Guinness Son & Co, established in 1759 by brewer Arthur Guinness.
It is the most widely known and consumed Irish beer.
Guinness is produced and imported to Russia by Heineken under a license agreement.
Heineken is one of the world's largest brewing companies. It operates in 71 countries, including Russia, where it began business in February 2002 after buying its first brewery in St. Petersburg. Heineken now owns eight breweries in Russia. The company's portfolio contains roughly 30 brands, including the popular international trademarks Heineken, Amstel Premium Pilsener, Zlaty Bazant, Guinness, and Desperados.