Trademark for two very popular brands of vodka, Moskovskaya and Stolichnaya, have been returned to Russian Federation control, Marques reports. The battle for control of the two brands had been going on for a decade. Yuri Shefler acquired the brands during the tumultuous period after the USSR was dissolved. During that period, many state-owned properties were illegally sold off. Shefler asserts that he rightfully acquired the brands from the state. The Court ruled that no valid privatization had been made.
What does this mean? It means the Dutch company can’t say it’s products are Russian if they aren’t produced in Russia, and that the Russian state can now block sale of Stoli and Moskovskaya. My guess is that will have no impact on the products in the United States, but the decision will surely have an impact on Mr Shefler’s pocketbook.