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Trademark Battle Won in Rum War

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The Miami Herald reported that the United States Patent & Trademark Office has decided that the current registration on the trademark HAVANA CLUB is canceled/expired. Cubaexport, a Cuban government company that has a joint venture with Pernod Ricard to sell Havana Club in Cuba and around the world, plans to appeal the decision.

Bacardi U.S.A. recently launched its own version of Havana Club rum in Florida, possibly expanding in key U.S. markets. Cubaexport must file an appeal with the United States Patent & Trademark Office within six months. The issue can further be appealed in U.S. Courts. In the meantime, the registration will remain on the books during the process.

In 1994, Cuba and Pernod Ricard entered into a joint venture. Since then, sales of Havana Club rum have grown from 300,000 cases to 2.4 million cases in 2006. Because of the trade embargo, the rum is not sold in the United States, but is sold in Cuba, Europe, and around the world.

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