FRANCE: Pernod insists global rum rights are safe
The French drinks giant today (10 August) insisted that its rights to Havana Club outside the US were safe. Pernod has owned the Havana Club trademark in almost all markets worldwide since it set up a joint venture with the Cuban government in 1993.
Earlier this week, Bacardi relaunched its version of Havana Club in Florida after US patent authorities blocked a Cuban move to renew its trademark registration.
Bacardi already holds trademark registrations on Havana Club in Croatia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In addition to the US, Bacardi has trademark applications for the brand pending in the Bahamas, Nicaragua and India.
The privately-owned spirits giant has told just-drinks that it would "look at every action on a market by market basis".
However, a Pernod spokesman dismissed the possibility that Bacardi could gain further rights to the brand outside the US. He told just-drinks that Bacardi had failed to win the rights to Havana Club in Spain after contesting the trademark.
"No, they cannot do anything, they tried to play the same game in Spain but Spain is not the US," he said.
The Pernod spokesman criticised the US ruling and blamed the decision on a regulation, dubbed Section 211, which states that trademarks for brands confiscated by the Cuban government could not be renewed.
Bacardi has long claimed that the brand and associated assets were illegally confiscated from its original owners by the Cuban government during the revolution in the country.
The Pernod spokesman said: "A court decision in Spain confirmed our rights. In the US, it was not a question of the courts, it was an unfair act of politics and a question of Section 211, which impeded us from renewing our trademark."
He said that, prior to signing its deal with Cuba, Pernod had "very cautiously checked" that Havana Club belonged to Cubaexport, a state-run conglomerate.
He added: "The main countries showed that the brand belonged to Cubaexport. Otherwise we would never have done that. We've developed the brand from scratch. We've made a success of the product because of the quality of the product and the quality of the product cannot be stolen by those people."
Yesterday, Pernod insisted it would "vigorously defend" its rights to Havana Club and launch an appeal to renew its trademark registration in the US, the world's largest rum market.
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