Pernod Ricard claims a win in the latest round of the Havana Club bout

Pernod Ricard claims a win in the latest round of the Havana Club bout

Pernod Ricard has claimed victory in Spain in its ongoing Havana Club legal row with Bacardi.

The Spanish Supreme Court has confirmed that ownership of the Havana Club trademark in the country belongs to Pernod's Havana Club joint venture, the French drinks firm said yesterday (3 February). Bacardi has countered, however, that the ruling fell in Pernod's favour solely on a legal technicality.

The ruling marked the third time that the Spanish courts have turned down Bacardi's challenge to Havana Club Holdings, the venture between Pernod and Cuban Government-controlled Cubaexport, over the rights to the trademark.

The Supreme Court confirmed back in July 2009 that it would hear Bacardi's appeal.

“This decision is a victory for the Havana Club brand,” said Ian FitzSimons, general counsel for Pernod. “This was a blatant attempt by our competitor, Bacardi, to claim rights in a trademark more than 30 years after an unused registration had expired. Our business in Spain was built from scratch and today sells more than 2.7m litres in the country.”

When contacted by just-drinks, however, a spokesperson for Bacardi said the company is planning “new legal avenues” in Spain over the matter.

“The high court of Spain ruled that the transfer of the trademark registration of Havana Club rum in Spain by Cuba and its partners violated Spanish public law,” the spokesperson said. She added that Bacardi is “disappointed that the court ruled in favour of Havana Club Holdings on the legal technicality of a statute of limitations”.

The spokesperson declined to comment on what specific plans the company was considering.

To read Pernod's official statement, click here.

To read Bacardi's official statement, click here.