TORONTO (Reuters) - The Ontario Superior Court on Thursday granted Molson Coors a temporary injunction that prevents Miller Brewing Co from ending a license agreement with Molson’s (TAP.N) (TPXb.TO) Canadian arm before a trial scheduled for December.
In February, Miller, a subsidiary of SABMiller Plc SAB.L, had announced that it planned to end the deal with Molson Coors Canadian arm as it believed its partner was not doing enough to promote Miller brands in Canada. Molson Coors in turn filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the termination of the license agreement.
Miller had provided Molson with a notice of termination in January, and it had been aiming to end the agreement on July 22.
Miller said on Thursday it was disappointed with the court’s decision, but said it remains confident in its position ahead of the trial. A spokesman for Molson was not immediately reachable for comment.
“We remain firm in our expectation that the Court will agree that we adhered to the terms of our Canadian license agreement when we exercised our right to terminate,” said Stephen Rogers, Miller Brewing Co’s legal counsel.
The legal tussle is not expected to have an impact on the partnership between the two companies in the United States. The U.S. beer market is currently dominated by the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI.BR), and MillerCoors, a joint venture between Molson Coors and SABMiller.
Miller said it remains committed to the Canadian market and Miller trademark brands will continue to be available in Canada.
The company said it will continue to prepare for a seamless transition, in the event that it wins the trial on the matter.
The court case between the two sides is Molson Canada 2005 V. Miller Brewing Company, in the Superior Court of Justice-Ontario, CV-12-470589.
Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer