The chief of Havana Club International, Pernod Ricard's joint venture with the Cuban government, has said that there is still no end in sight in the company's long-running legal row with Bacardi.

The France-based company, which handles the sales, distribution and marketing of Havana Club, is the subject of an ownership claim by Bacardi for the Havana Club trademark in the US, dating back to 1995.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks in Cuba yesterday (25 February), Marc Beuve-Méry, managing director of Havana Club International, said there was "absolutely nothing new" to say about the ongoing dispute.

"The judge (in the US) is collecting data," Beuve-Méry, said. "It's a lengthy process because if someone brings some additional data, and the opposite party says that the data is irrelevant, then the judge has to say whether it's relevant or not. We're in that game."

When asked if there was a timescale in place for a decision, Beuve-Méry said: "I cannot really tell you. We may have some news in 2009. We had a delay when we were expecting a decision last year. The year before, the judge was changed."

In 2005, Pernod won a legal case brought by Bacardi in Spain over the trademark. The case is now on appeal in front of the country's Supreme Court.

"In the US," Beuve-Méry said, "the process is taking longer and seems less easy to decide because it's a very political subject."

However, a Bacardi spokesperson said: "In 2006, the US Patent and Trademark office deemed Cuba's US registration of the Havana Club trademark 'cancelled/expired.' The cancellation of the Cuba's US trademark puts an end to any vestige Pernod Ricard and Cuba have to any rights in the US for the Havana Club trademark, unless Cuba is successful in overcoming this decision."