Pernod Ricard granted US Havana Club trademark rights

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Pernod Ricard's Cuban JV partner has renewed its registration of the Havana Club trademark in the US following the granting of a "specific licence" from the country's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The final resolution of global ownership of the Havana Club trademark took a step closer late last week

The final resolution of global ownership of the Havana Club trademark took a step closer late last week

The move last week, which was followed by Cubaexport's renewal of the trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office to 27 Jan, comes just over a year after Cuba and the US embarked on a normalisation of relations. The US trade embargo against Cuban products remains in place, however, meaning Pernod and its Cuban state-owned partner cannot yet begin selling Havana Club in the country.

Speaking to just-drinks today, a spokesperson for Pernod welcomed the decision, but warned that there is a long way to go before Havana Club reaches US shelves. "This is the first step in still a much longer process," the spokesperson said.

Bacardi, which is in dispute with Pernod over the Havana Club trademark, has sold its version of the brand in Florida since 2006. The family that owns the company fled Cuba after the revolution in 1959, and formed an alliance with the original owners of Havana Club, the Arechabala family, in 1994. The Cuban state nationalised the Arechabala's operations following the revolution, a strategy that prompted the US embargo.

Bacardi has a pending class action against Cubaexport in the US, the only remaining market where Pernod's Havana Club Holding does not own the trademark, over the ownership of the Havana Club name. The case was put on hold pending the outcome of the USPTO petition.

"The decision of the USPTO means this procedure will resume," the Pernod spokesperson said.

Pernod and Cubaexport, which it runs with Cuba Ron, have submitted a further renewal registration with the USPTO until 27 Jan, 2026.

A spokesperson for Bacardi was not immediately available for comment.

The French company moved to sidestep the legal row with Bacardi in the US in 2012, when it registered the trademark 'Havanista' in the US.

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