Vodkat to rebrand after Diageo settlement

Vodkat will relaunch under a new brand name next year after parent company Intercontinental Brands (ICB) settled its two-year dispute with Diageo.

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Diageo won a High Court case against ICB in January over Vodkat, a vodka-based spirit brand. The Smirnoff maker had argued that customers were being led to believe that the cheaper less alcoholic Vodkat drink was real vodka.

Mr Justice Arnold ruled that a brand name derived from the word vodka but not real vodka was likely to confuse consumers.

Diageo says: “ICB agreed to change the Vodkat brand name and packaging to ensure it is clear to consumers that the product is not vodka and to pay Diageo a substantial sum in damages and legal costs.”

A spokeswoman for ICB says it will launch a “new product” in the first quarter of 2011. She adds the last shipments of Vodkat to retailers and wholesalers will be on 31 January 2011.

The High Court ruling also saw Vodka join champagne, whisky and sherry as a drinks name protected by law from lookalike brands.

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