Bisleri to register Maaza brand in eastern Europe

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Plans launch through franchisee route.

Mr Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman, Bisleri International.
Mr Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman, Bisleri International.

New markets

Bisleri has registered the Maaza brand in 12 overseas markets and has appointed franchisees to manufacture it in West Asia and western Europe.

Purvita Chatterjee

Mumbai, Sept. 15

Bisleri International has decided to register the mango drink brand — Maaza — in eastern European countries, and launch the brand through a franchisee operation.

Considering the company is locked in legal battle with Coca-Cola over the IPR (Intellectual Proprietary Rights) of its Maaza brand in the overseas market, the water major is now seeking to register its beverage brand in markets it is not already present even before Coca-Cola tries to enter these markets.

Currently, Bisleri has registered the Maaza brand in 12 overseas markets and has appointed franchisees to manufacture it in West Asia and western Europe.

Mr Ramesh Chauhan, Chairman, Bisleri International, told Business Line that, “We would be appointing franchisees in eastern Europe in countries such as Turkey, Romania and Czechoslovakia. As Coke is already trying to register the brand in countries where Maaza is not present, we would like to take the brand to these markets.”

Meanwhile, officials at Coke deny any move made by the company to register the Maaza brand overseas. “We have not registered the Maaza brand and neither is there any intention to do so in any overseas market,” stated an official from Coca-Cola.

But, Bisleri International is not taking any chances with the multinational and has decided to take its Maaza into new markets. “Our franchisee for Maaza in Holland is already supplying the brand to countries in western Europe.

Coca-Cola has been trying to register the brand in Turkey and the Benelux countries when it was clearly understood that the rights for the Maaza brand were only meant for the Indian market. We have asked Coca-Cola for damages amounting to $50 million and have asked them to stop production in India with immediate effect.”

In fact, Bisleri claims that in the year 1993 the rights for Thums Up, Gold Spot, Limca and Rim-Zim were sold lock stock and barrel, except Maaza, whose international rights were withheld by Bisleri International.

But Coca-Cola continues to maintain its stand on the acquisition of the Maaza brand and the fact that it has the rights to take it to other markets. “Nothing restrains The Coca-Cola Company from registering the Maaza trademark in a particular jurisdiction outside India, if the law of that jurisdiction so permits.

“The Coca Cola Company, US, which owns the Maaza trademark and IP rights will respond to those allegations as and when it receives a notice from Bisleri,” added the Coca-Cola Official. Maaza currently has a 37 per cent share in the mango drinks category with brands such as Frooti (Parle Agro) and Slice (Pepsi) as competitors.

Related Stories:
Chauhan to take Bisleri to US
Bisleri to enter Europe via French firm

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 16, 2008)
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