Page last updated at 15:13 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 16:13 UK

Sainsbury's in battle over Pimm's

Sainsbury's store
Sainsbury's is ramping up its expansion plans

Drinks giant Diageo says it will take legal action against supermarket chain Sainsbury's, after alleging it broke copyright rules regarding Pimm's.

The move by the drinks company comes after Sainsbury's launched a gin-based summer drink called Pitchers, which can be mixed with fruit and lemonade.

Sainsbury's said it would "vigorously defend" the claims.

Diageo said the case should not affect its relationship with Sainsbury's, a key customer.

"Sainsbury's is a valued customer of Diageo and we hope will continue to be so for many years. It is Diageo's firm intent that our strong trading relationship should not be affected by this discrete dispute," said the drinks firm.

Sainsbury's, which launched its Pitchers drink in April, said: "Our customers are are savvy enough to know exactly what they're buying, the clue is in the name, and we see no basis for such a claim."

As well as Pimm's, Diageo brands include Guinness, Smirnoff Vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky.

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