General Cigar Co. has just won another battle in the contentious trademark war over the Cohiba brand.
After a nearly 16 year legal feud, the Cohiba case went before the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) on March 14. According to a press release issued by General Cigar, Cubatabaco (owner of the Cuban Cohiba trademark) petitioned the TTAB to cancel General’s use of the Cohiba brand name in the United States. The petition was dismissed.
“The TTAB ruled that because the federal courts have held that Cubatabaco may not sell Cohiba cigars in the U.S. or acquire any interest in the Cohiba mark, Cubatabaco lacks any property interest in the Cohiba mark,” the press release said.
The dismissal is another blow for Cubatabaco, which lost a previous judgment handed down by a Manhattan appeals court in 2010. “This ruling once again affirms what we have believed all along: That Cubatabaco has no merit in challenging General’s ownership of the Cohiba trademark in the United States,” said General’s president Dan Carr.
Cigar Aficionado spoke briefly to Cubatabaco’s legal team and to Cuban cigar distributor Habanos S.A. for further remarks, but both declined comment.
Cohiba cigars were first created in Cuba after that country’s revolution and the Cuban version has never been legally sold in the United States due to the U.S embargo on Cuba. General Cigar registered the trademark in the U.S. in 1981 and has been selling a Dominican-made version of Cohiba since the 1980s. The litigation started in 1997, however, when General Cigar began nationally marketing products with the Cohiba name. Cubatabaco and General Cigar have been embroiled in the fight over Cohiba ever since.
This is a developing story. Look for more coverage at www.cigaraficionado.com.