London, Jan.20 (ANI): Britain's High Court has given Vodka protected status.
The Russian drink joins the ranks of champagne, whisky and sherry as a name protected by the courts, reports The Telegraph.
The order to give protected status to the drink was issued after Diageo, the multinational drinks company whose products include Smirnoff vodka, approached the High Court after rivals started producing cheaper, less alcoholic drinks such as Vodkat.
Mr.Justice Arnold ruled that any brand name derived from vodka but was not vodka was likely to confuse the public.
He said: "In this case, the court is required for the first time to decide whether a producer of vodka has the same rights as a producer of champagne, sherry, advocaat, whisky or Swiss chocolate."
He said Smirnoff had been sold in the UK since the 1950s and was the best selling brand.
The defendants, Intercontinental Brands (ICB), introduced their successful Vodkat in 2005.
The judge said the "clear, virtually tasteless alcoholic drink" is not a vodka.
He said the word vodka comes from Russian and the drink is now the best-selling spirit in the UK - totalling in value more than 1.7 billion pounds a year.
Mr. Justice Arnold said Vodkat was a mixture of vodka and neutral fermented alcohol with a strength of 22 per cent of alcohol by volume rather than the minimum 37.5 per cent of vodka.
Due to the difference in strength, Vodkat can be sold at a lower price than vodka.
"I have no hesitation in concluding that the term 'vodka' does have a reputation giving rise to a protectable goodwill," the judge said. (ANI)