Swedish vodka firm sues UK radio station

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Swedish vodka firm sues UK radio station

The owners of Swedish vodka brand Absolut are pursuing legal proceedings against the UK-based Absolute Radio - formerly Virgin Radio - for alleged trademark infringement.


Drinks company Vin & Sprit confirmed that they consider the newly adopted name for the radio station - once owned by UK entrepreneur Richard Branson - to be inappropriate.

"I can confirm that it is correct that we have objections to them using the name Absolute," Paula Eriksson at The Absolut Company in Stockholm told The Local on Wednesday.

When asked whether the general public would have difficulty differentiating between a radio station and a vodka brand, Eriksson replied:

"Absolut is a brand that is known worldwide outside of its spirits category. We consider that there is a risk of confusion."

Absolute Radio, which changed its named after having been bought by the Times of India Group, however said in a statement that it would fight the legal proceedings and a spokesperson argued that its listeners could distinguish between a vodka brand and a radio station.

Jo Sharman, a British resident of Sweden who has been called on to issue a witness statement in the case concurs.

"I wrote a jokey email to Absolute Radio asking them if they had something to do with the vodka. The radio station, and then Absolut Vodka, later contacted me to clarify what I meant," Sharman told The Local on Wednesday.

"I honestly think this is all really silly. It was a joke. There is a big difference between a radio station and a vodka," Sharman said.

Paula Eriksson was however in no doubt that Vin & Sprit, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, was correct in acting to protect its brand and underlined that there was also a moral issue at stake.

"We have a company policy of not targeting our products at those aged under 18. The radio station has a much wider audience. This is something that we do not consider appropriate."


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