Cigar Industry

Chisel Shape Gets Trademark

May 8, 2012 | By David Savona
Chisel Shape Gets Trademark

The La Flor Dominicana Chisel, one of the strongest and most original cigars on the market, is now protected by a trademark. Cigarmaker Litto Gomez, who created the Chisel shape in 2003, received acceptance for his trademark application on April 4. The trademark for the Chisel shape is retroactive to 2006, and will be valid until 2016.

“I thought it was a long shot,” Gomez told Cigar Aficionado in an interview yesterday. “They rejected it four or five times—we kept trying.”

While the name “Chisel” is also registered, this trademark applies to the distinctive shape of the cigar, which is a flattened figurado with a head that looks like a handtool or the mouthpiece of a woodwind instrument. Gomez got the idea for the shape while driving in the Dominican Republic one day while chewing on a traditional torpedo. By the time he arrived at his destination, the cigar had taken on the shape of a chisel. He liked the way it felt, and instructed workers in his factory to replicate the shape.

The trademark, held by Premium Imports Inc. the company owned by Gomez and his wife, Ines Lonenzo-Gomez, is registration No. 3,115,620. Cigar Aficionado does not know of another shape to have a trademark.

“As unique as it was, it was very simple,” said Gomez. “And the fact that it’s patented, it’s very official.”

Gomez has a knack for innovation dating back to his creation of the El Jocko Perfectos, a cigar with a bulbous shape reminiscent of a fire hydrant. “We like to innovate,” he said. “It’s part of the fun.”

Gomez makes the Chisel in a variety of blends, including the La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Chisel, the No. 10 cigar of 2010.

La Flor Dominicana Cigars
"Jon Please send me a PDF of your trademark papers for your Wafe cigar so I can mention it in this story, as well as the follow-up in Cigar Insider. If you can't email it, fax it to me at (212-684-5424). Thanks Dave" —May 15, 2012 12:26 PM
"JD: I don't represent Premier Imports so I have no comment on the enforceability of that trademark. -FH" —May 10, 2012 10:13 AM
"Frank, Other people who are using the Chisel size must stop now or can continue? Best, JD" —May 10, 2012 06:26 AM
"What happened to my last post ... maybe it went to same place as my socks. JD" —May 9, 2012 20:27 PM
"Cigar Aficionado needs to have an IP counsel to double check their stories. First, it's a trademark and not a patent as the headline states. Second, the Gomez Trademark for the Design of the CHISEL, Registration No. 3115620 was issued on July 18, 2006. During the prosecution phase of that trademark application, the Trademark Examiner rejected the application twice issuing Office Action letters. On May 17, 2005, Premium Imports' counsel filed a 90 page response to the PTO's objection and submitted "evidence" that the design has acquired "secondary meaning" and therefore was suitable for registration. The PTO accepted the filing and granted the registration. The reason that Premium is announcing this now is that they have filed their Section 8 & 15 Affidavits (which must be filed after the 5 year of registration and before the expiration of the 6th year). The Section 15 Affidavit make the trademark "incontestable" which makes it extremely difficult for a third party to seek cancellation of the trademark. Basically, before the Section 15 filing last month, any party could have filed a cancellation proceeding claiming that the mark should never have received registration. As an attorney specializing in Cigar law cases, I believe that protecting trademarks is a good thing. It insures that long term investments are protected to some degree. Cigar makers spend lots of money in farming and production and only see a return (if at all, years later). However, I often counsel my cigar brand owner clients that this is one of the few industries where conflicts can still be settled via a telephone call and/or a sit down sharing a cigar and scotch/rum. Intellectual property protection is good, but must be tempered. Ours is a long and noble industry. We can protect our rights and still be friendly competitors. Frank Herrera" —May 9, 2012 10:24 AM
"I guess I better scoop up some Man o' War 52Cs then..." —May 9, 2012 09:14 AM
"Sucks for Victor Sinclair (not that anyone cares). " —May 9, 2012 01:03 AM
"Great to see the Cigar Industry coming up with different ideas. Re the trademark etc, Good on ya! At least this way you will remain unique and have a 'shape' above the question though, how do you cut it?TJ - The Cigar Lounge NZ" —May 8, 2012 23:04 PM
"I love LFD / LG stuff and usually buy chisel vitolas. With that said, they aren't the only chisel maker out there and I'm not really hip to patenting a vitola. It isn't wat this hobby is about. No offense to JD or Litto but dude, this is about innovation as much as it is about brotherhood and that just doesn't sit right with me. I know someone who is producing chisels right now, I wonder if this will adversely affect him because the trademark is retro to 2003." —May 8, 2012 22:49 PM
"Add my voice as one who does not like any idea of trademarked shapes." —May 8, 2012 21:56 PM
"I agree with Jonathan. Just look at the tech industry. Everyone is sueing each other, and everyone elae is loseing." —May 8, 2012 19:27 PM
"I do not like the idea of trademarked cigar shapes. I would rather the cigar makers respect originality and not let the government regulate shape, size, name, and design of cigars. I fear what this could lead to in the future..." —May 8, 2012 17:47 PM
"Drew Estate has a Patent or Patent Pending on the WAFE SIZE. Best, JD" —May 8, 2012 17:05 PM

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