Russian court bans Carlsberg Kazakhstan from using the Baltika brand 

Business news correspondent
Carlsberg Kazakhstan has lost its case in the court of appeals / Collage by, photo editor: Aruzhan Makhsotova

Carlsberg Kazakhstan has lost the case related to the brand of Baltika in the court of appeals. In late January, the Russian court banned Carlsberg from using this label in Kazakhstan and five other CIS countries. In March, the Kazakhstani division of the Dutch company appealed to the St. Petersburg arbitration court. However, on May 14, the court of appeals decided to uphold the verdict of the lower court.

Carlsberg Group announced its plan to sell Baltika Brewery, its main Russian asset, in late June 2023. However, in July, President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed an edict demanding the Federal Agency for State Property Management to take control of the company. Carlsberg described it as a «hostile takeover» as the Dutch concern evaluated its Russian assets at $1 billion.

Baltika and Carlsberg Group had been fighting in courts for the trademarks since then. On October 3, 2023, Carlsberg banned Baltika from producing Holsten, Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Seth & Riley’s Garage, Grimbergen and Carlsberg starting from April 2024.

In turn, Baltika appealed to the Russian authorities in December 2023 with the request to protect its trading marks abroad. The company stated that on July 19, 2023, several representatives of Baltika committed unauthorized transfer of the company’s trademarks to a set of companies (including Carlsberg Kazakhstan) affiliated with the Dutch holding in the absence of the company’s director Taimuraz Balloev who was appointed two days before that.

In January 2024, the St. Petersburg court supported Baltika’s claims and banned Carlsberg Kazakhstan from using the Baltika trademark. On May 14, the court of appeals decided to uphold this decision. As a result, Carlsberg can’t use this name in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Mongolia and Turkmenistan.

Carlsberg Kazakhstan is one of the biggest breweries in Kazakhstan. It was established in 1998 as Ak Nar brewery and after merging with Irbis was renamed Derbes and has since become a part of Carlsberg Group.

According to Kazakh Invest, Carlsberg Kazakhstan has opened a new production site worth $50 million in Almaty. Its local plant has beefed up its alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage output from 2.3 million dekaliters to 3 million. The new site is expected to provide jobs for 500 people in Almaty and more than 2,000 employees in distribution companies throughout Kazakhstan.

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