CUBA: Pernod Ricard warns of "aggressive" tactics over Havana Club
Pernod Ricard has said it is "disappointed" by ruling this week against its Havana Club joint venture partner in the US, and warned that it will "aggressively prevent any unauthorised use" of the Havana Club trademark.
Earlier this week, a US District Court dismissed a lawsuit by Cubaexport, Pernod's partner in Havana Club Holding, claiming the US had acted illegally in terminating the group's trademark rights for the namesake rum brand in the country.
The lawsuit dismissal was welcomed by Bacardi, which claims to own the original Havana Club brand name, as a "watershed moment" in the long-running legal battle between itself and Cubaexport and Pernod.
Speaking to just-drinks yesterday (1 April), a spokesperson for Pernod said that the company "is disappointed with the court's decision, which misapplied the law". The French company "hopes that Cubaexport, which is the owner of the US Havana Club trademark registered in 1976 and duly renewed until 2006, will appeal the decision", the spokesperson added.
"This decision is ... not representative of the rulings obtained outside the US," the spokesperson continued. "From India to Spain, the legitimate owner of the Havana Club trademark - which outside the US is Havana Club Holding - has successfully protected and defended it.
"Pernod Ricard understands that Cubaexport and Havana Club Holding intend to continue to actively protect and defend the Havana Club trademark," the spokesperson added, "and will aggressively prevent when possible any unauthorised use of the Havana Club trademark."
The spokesperson declined to comment further on what measures the joint venture plans to take over the matter going forward.
Bacardi has long claimed that the Havana Club brand and associated assets were illegally confiscated from its original owners - the Arechabala family - by the Cuban government during the revolution in the country.
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