In the fight for a patent: how Poland and the USSR sued for the name of "forty-degree"

In the fight for a patent: how Poland and the USSR sued for the name of "forty-degree"
In the fight for a patent: how Poland and the USSR sued for the name of "forty-degree"
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It seemed that vodka was always present in the history of Russia. A strong alcoholic drink has been known for so long that without it, perhaps, the average feast could no longer be imagined. Vodka has long been considered a primordially Russian "serpent". And when, in 1978, the Polish Republic suddenly tried to take away from the Soviet Union the right to the name "forty degrees", this led to real fighting for a patent.

It seemed that not a single person had any doubts about the fact that the word “Russian” was secretly added to the word “vodka” all over the world - this strong alcohol was too strongly associated with an immense country. Therefore, when Poland unexpectedly began to challenge the Soviet Union's right to sell the famous Stolichnaya, Kubanskaya, Pshenichnaya, Moskovskaya Osobaya sorts on the international market under the name Vodka, the party elite of the USSR initially considered it just a misunderstanding.

Like Soviet vodka was almost stolen from her name
Like Soviet vodka was almost stolen from her name

But the Poles were serious. The fact is that, in their opinion, only their product - "Wódka wyborowa", can be called "vodka". Poland was also prompted to do this by a significant deterioration of internal sentiments in relation to the USSR, which soon resulted in the collapse of socialism. And the “big allied brother” was offered to export not vodka, but “alcoholic drink”.

Poland was confident that it was right
Poland was confident that it was right

The Soviet Union could not stand such impudence, and in 1978 both countries ended up in the International Arbitration Court in The Hague, where they began to fight under the legendary name. Moreover, the Soviets lost the first round of this battle. Poles, as evidence of the authenticity of vodka on their territory, began to present information about the beginning of the production of "fire water" in Poland since 1540. In response, the USSR put on the table M. Ya. Volkov's dissertation “Essays on the history of Russian trades. Distillery "which stated that distillation in Russia existed already at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries. In addition, information was given about the emergence of vodka production in Russia in the 12th century in the city of Vyatka.

Due to inattention, the USSR almost lost the trial
Due to inattention, the USSR almost lost the trial

And here an incident occurred - it turned out that the Soviet side had inattentively reacted to the verification of the reliability of information about Vyatka. It turned out that the information was taken not from historical archives or documents, but from the tear-off calendar of the Russian Empire in 1894. Not only that, by itself, he could not claim to be an authoritative source, but also other data, cited in it, were repeatedly disputed by historians as unreliable. At least in Vyatka, vodka production could not have begun in the 12th century, since the city itself was founded only in 1374.

The story of the 12th century Vyatka production turned out to be unreliable
The story of the 12th century Vyatka production turned out to be unreliable

The vector of the court's confidence after such an incident was almost entirely in the hands of the Polish Republic. But the Soviet Union could not afford to lose: it is worth clarifying that they did not allow themselves more such mistakes. With the personal approval of the Minister of Culture, the famous Soviet historian, researcher of Russian cuisine, William Vasilyevich Pokhlyobkin, was involved in the search for evidence. It was not easy to persuade the eccentric scientist to cooperate: according to Novate.ru, he agreed only after he was given the opportunity to work in the funds of the Russian State Archive of Ancient Acts.

However, these efforts were not in vain: Pokhlebkin found in the documents evidence that distilling and vodka production appeared in one Russian monastery around 1440-1470. The data of statistics of grain procurements with surplus in monasteries due to the transition to a three-field crop rotation system were presented.

As a result, the USSR won the patent war
As a result, the USSR won the patent war

The evidence presented by the Soviet Union in court smashed the line of the Polish side to smithereens. And already in 1982, the International Arbitration Court in The Hague secured for the Soviet Union the right to use the name "vodka".

In addition to the topic: "Narkomovskie 100 grams": is it true that Russian soldiers drank official vodka during the war all the time?

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