US: Pernod Ricard readies appeal against Bacardi Havana Club ruling
Pernod Ricard has said it plans to appeal this week's Havana Club legal ruling against the firm in the US.
Earlier today (7 April), the US arm of Bacardi confirmed that a district court in Wilmington, Delaware, has ruled in its favour over the Havana Club trademark. The origin of Bacardi's Havana Club rum is “geographically accurate” as the bottle states that the rum is made in Puerto Rico and that it is based on the original Cuban recipe as created by the Arechabala family, the court ruled.
In a 22-page ruling, US District Judge Sue Robinson ruled that Pernod's US unit showed “no evidence that its Havana Club rum product differs from the original pre-revolutionary Cuban rum in any significant respect”, the judge added.
Pernod and Bacardi have been arguing in court over the name Havana Club for around 13 years, with the former laying claim to the trademark through a joint venture with Cuban firm Cubaexport. Bacardi, meanwhile, maintains it acquired the Havana Club brand name when it bought the original recipe from the Arechabala family in 1994.
When contacted by just-drinks, a spokesperson for Pernod's US unit professed the company “disappointed” with the judgement.
“Pernod Ricard USA ... submitted a survey to the court showing that consumers are deceived into believing that Bacardi's Havana Club rum comes from Cuba,” the spokesperson said. “The Court did not consider the survey results because the Court concluded, incorrectly in our view, that Bacardi was entitled to state that it uses the Arechabala formula to make its rum.”
Pernod said it intends to appeal the decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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