Polish court rules Reemstma can use George Sand brand

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WARSAW--Reemsta Poland can continue to market one of its domestic cigarette brands underthe George Sand brand name, a Polish court hasruled.

The decision apparently puts an end to a casebrought against Reemstma in 1997 by a distantrelative of writer George Sand, Christiane Dudevant-Sand, claiming she should have been compensated for the German company's use of the GeorgeSand name. The court struck down her suit primarily on the basis that the novelist's reputationhad not suffered from Reemstma's marketing.

Reemstma says Ms. Dudevant-Sand filed the caseafter contacting Reemstma "wanting to make moneyon the brand name," according to Reemstma SeniorBrand Manager Mariola Krzhzaniak.

The writer George Sand has high name recognitionin Poland because she was the lover of the country's most famous composer, Chopin. Reemstma usedthe writer's name on its domestic cigarette brand's1995 launch for that reason and because she was aknown smoker with an emancipated, devil-may-careattitude.

George Sand is not the only brand with a famouspersona behind it. British American Tobacco's popular brand Jan III Sobieski is a market leader inPoland.

George Sand cigarettes has only 0.02% share ofthe Polish market, compared to a 10% share enjoyed by Remmstma's strongest brand, Mocne. Itis supported only by a marginal marketing budgetand no agency works on the brand regularly.

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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