On February 5, 2018, in Linz, SPI Group achieved yet another significant legal victory in its long-running dispute with Russian state-owned entity Federal Treasury Enterprise Sojuzplodoimport (FKP or FTE) over the ownership of SPI Group’s Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya trademarks.
The Appellate Court of Linz ruled in favour of SPI Group, confirming their ownership of both trademarks in Austria.
In its decision, the Austrian Appellate Court held that the Dutch interim judgments as well as the later Dutch judgments do not have any binding effect on the Austrian proceedings.
The Austrian Court also:
- rejected the Dutch Courts’ approach that an invalidity of the Russian privatization would not be subject to any limitation period;
- noted that the approach used by the Dutch Courts’ ignores the fact that the privatization had for many years been considered by all persons involved, including the Russian State, as legal and had been implemented and “lived” as such, until the change of political power in Russia in1999/2000 which ushered in a change of view; and
- observed that the considerations by the Dutch Courts tune out any specific discussion on the merits on Russian limitation law.
In contrast to the Dutch approach, in the Austrian proceedings, extensive court expert opinions were rendered and concluded that Russian limitation law applies and precluded FKP’s claims.
To date, the Dutch decisions are the notable anomaly in the global dispute.
This decision once again confirms that the trademarks were lawfullyacquired by SPI.
SPI and its affiliates own the Stolichnaya trademarks in more than 180 countries.
Alison H. Walsh, Stoli Group PR Director
Phone: +1 917 301 2962