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Mar 27, 2017

Heineken Romania and Lixid Project SRL have settled their ongoing “Csíki/Ciuc” brand dispute

The end of the “David and Goliath” battle has come to an end

The companies today released the following joint statement:

“HEINEKEN Romania and S.C. Lixid Project SRL are pleased to announce that following ongoing and constructive conversations they both intend to settle their dispute about the Csíki Sör brand name. As part of the settlement HEINEKEN Romania gives consent to Lixid Project SRL for the coexistence of the Ciuc® and Csiki brand names and agrees that Lixid Project SRL to market the Csiki Sör beer. As a result of this agreement both parties will abandon all legal activities related to the commercial dispute.

The settlement involves compromises on both sides and it allows both companies to continue building their relationship with their consumers, employees, business partners and the local community. Both companies now look forward to leave their past differences behind them and focus on what they do best and enjoy most: brew beer.”

Representatives of the Hungarian government had been in talks with Heineken’s Hungarian management, as well as with the Dutch ambassador, asking them to help resolve the ongoing dispute over copyright issues, said János Lázár, head of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The minister referred to the dispute as  a “David and Goliath" battle, where several Hungarian government officials, including Lázár, had initially called for a boycott of Heineken products.

The dispute between the two brewers had stemmed from the ‘Igazi Csiki Sör’ name. ‘Igazi Csíki Sör’ (‘The real beer of Csík’), has a similar name to a Romanian beer owned by Heineken, “Ciuc beer” (“Csík” means “Ciuc” in Romanian language and refers to a small region of Transylvania with a significant ethnic Hungarian majority).

In January, a Romanian regional court ruled in favor of Heineken against the local Hungarian beer in their age-long legal dispute over the brand copyrights. The Romanian ruling directly contradicts an EU court, which ruled in favor of the Hungarian product and against Heineken in December 2016.

According to MTI, the producer of ‘Igazi Csíki sör” employs about 140 people in Transylvania. The company said the Romanian court’s ruling was an attack against a local company, which is proud of its Hungarian identity, language and symbols.

Since the ruling, the company changed its labels, and began selling a label that reads 'Banned Real Beer', in a direct dig at the Romanian court ruling.

With the two companies having reached an agreement, the two sides are expected to resume production as before.