The landmark decision means that The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey can now enter the Australian market and Campari cannot use the ‘Wild Geese’ trademark on its products in Australia.
|The Wild Geese defeats Wild Turkey in the Australian courts|
The Wild Geese, had sought to remove Campari's trademarks to the brands ‘Wild Geese’ and ‘Wild Geese Wines’ for legal “non-use” of the marks in Australia in the relevant non-use period. Earlier this year, five presiding Federal Court judges found for The Wild Geese and awarded indemnity costs however a question remained as to whether Campari could appeal the decision.
This latest action relates to the last attempt by Pernod Ricard, then owners of Wild Turkey, to prevent The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey from market entry into the Irish whiskey category. Overall this activity comprised several geographies and over 50 actions over 14 years, following the refusal by The Wild Geese to comply with Pernod Ricard’s demands that it be granted the right of veto where The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey could be sold in competition with Jameson. A condition Pernod Ricard sought to impose as part of a supply agreement for whiskey for The Wild Geese.
Commenting on the news, Ándre Levy Co-Founder and Chairman of The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey said: “We are delighted that the High Court has effectively endorsed the original unanimous decision that grants us the basic right as a business to use our name. This is just one part of a larger battle that we have been engaged in for the past 14 years that has included over 50 actions across several geographies. Originally initiated by Pernod Ricard, these actions have sought to limit the growth of an independent and competitive brand, thus stifling growth in the global Irish whiskey market. The consequences of these actions have been far reaching, to the extent that to ensure our continued growth and success, we have been forced to buy Irish whiskey at a premium from third parties who have been able to access whiskey that we are unable to purchase directly from large producers.“
He went onto say: Despite the unanimous decision from the five Federal Court Judges, Campari continued their attack on The Wild Geese, raising fundamental questions about the motivation behind their actions. It is our belief that dominant players cannot simply be allowed to eliminate competition because of their position and that people will be shocked to discover the real story behind these actions. Fundamentally we are committed to the Irish whiskey category and our right to offer whiskey drinkers the very best product, something we will continue to do in the spirit of The Wild Geese.”
This action, initiated by Pernod Ricard in 2002 and then taken up by Campari when Wild Turkey was sold, sought to secure the ‘Wild Geese’ trademark in Australia and thus prevent The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey from trading in an important Irish whiskey market.
In an attempt to limit the reach of The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey, Wild Turkey took assignment of the ‘Wild Geese’ and ‘Wild Geese Wines’ trademark from Wild Geese Wines in Australia in 2007. This latest action has subsequently found that while the ‘Wild Geese’ trademark had been used by Wild Turkey between 2007 and 2010 it was done so incorrectly.
Posted by Steve Rush