Saturday, January 29, 2022

Coca-Cola threatens to sue Colombia’s ‘Coca Pola’ beer over name

The Coca Nasa company which employs about 20 people produces food, traditional medicine, drinks and other products from the coca leaf.

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Drinks giant Coca-Cola has threatened legal action against a small Colombian business unless it changes the name of its Coca Pola beer, according to a letter from the multinational’s lawyers.

The Coca Nasa company produces food, traditional medicine, drinks and other products from the coca leaf. It employs about 20 people.

The company says the drink’s name comes from the word “pola”, which means beer in Colombia, and “coca”, short for the plant, which is also used to make cocaine.

In a letter seen by AFP Thursday, Coca-Cola asked the company – run by members of the indigenous Nasa community – to “cease and desist permanently from using the name Coca Pola or any similar term that could be confused with the commercial brands” owned by the drinks giant.

Its use “could violate the trademark law in Colombia” and “the law on unfair competition,” warned the letter by law firm Brigard Castro dated November 26.

David Curtidor, Coca Nasa’s legal officer, told AFP this was not the first time that the multinational had threatened the company with legal action.

“We will go as far as Coca-Cola takes us. We will dance to whatever tune they play. If they threaten us with our very existence, we will resist,” he said.

Coca-Cola addressed the letter to Tierra de Indio, a distributor of the drink, and gave it 10 working days to respond.

“They will probably take legal action on Tuesday or Wednesday, which is when the warning period expires… unless we stop using the term Coca Pola,” Curtidor said.

“And since we are not going to stop using it, we will wait for the lawsuit and respond,” he added.

“We are not afraid of them.”

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