The Telegraph
Monday , August 25 , 2014
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Mansion House battle on

Mumbai, Aug. 24: The dispute over Mansion House is far from over with Tilaknagar Industries saying that it will not give in without a fight, despite Allied Blenders & Distillers (ABD) bagging a 50 per cent ownership right of the popular brandy brand.

Tilaknagar maintains that neither Herman Jansen nor ABD can use the trademark and that it will take all action to protect its interest.

“Neither the assignors (Herman Jansen) nor the assignee (ABD) are entitled to use the trademarks Mansion House and Savoy Club as such use would tantamount to violation of Tilaknagar’s rights in the trademarks Mansion House and Savoy Club, which have been upheld by the Bombay high court. As regards the future course of action, Tilaknagar will be guided by appropriate legal advice and will take all necessary actions to protect their interest,” the company said.

However, the company said it was open to settle the seven-year-old case out of court with Herman Jansen.

“Yes, I am open to an out-of-court settlement with the Dutch company over the Mansion House brandy and Savoy Club rum and gin brands. That doesn’t in any way mean that I am negating my ownership on these brands. At the end of the day, I am a businessman and I’d not like to run into the courts very often,” Tilaknagar chairman and managing director Amit Dahanukar told PTI.

Kishore Chhabria-led ABD had acquired a 50 per cent ownership right to Mansion House and Savoy Club brands from the Dutch liquor entity on Thursday.

According to the deal, ABD can now make and market the Mansion House brandy in the country. ABD is the country’s third-largest spirits maker.

The acquisition of a 50 per cent ownership in these brands came in spite of a legal dispute over Mansion House between Tilaknagar Industries and Herman Jansen. According to Tilaknagar, it has been selling the brandy in the country following a commercial arrangement inked earlier.

However, Herman took Tilaknagar to court accusing it of breaching the terms of the agreement. While the Bombay high court had subsequently rejected Herman’s claims, the Dutch company filed an appeal with a division bench.

ABD has also expressed its interest in acquiring Tilaknagar only to be rejected by the latter.

Tilaknagar had indicated that it was looking to sell a minority stake.

“Given the nature of Tilaknagar’s business, sector dynamics and to make business progress, the company at several time points is exploring various types of business associations, tie-ups, relationships across players in the domestic and international markets, which may or may not fructify,” a statement said.

The 81-year-old Tilaknagar, set up in 1933 as Maharashtra Sugar Mills in Ahmednagar, entered the liquor business in 1987 and is now the fifth largest domestic liquor firm with over two dozen brands straddling all segments.