Cuban Lawsuit Resolved in U.K.

Hunters & Frankau has retained its title as the exclusive distributor of Cuban cigars in the United Kingdom thanks to a court ruling in March.

MasterCigars, a five-year-old outfit, had challenged the position of Hunters & Frankau in the courts. The company argued that because it did not purchase the cigars directly from Habanos S.A., the worldwide distributor of Cuban cigars, but rather from approved Habanos outlets in Cuba, it was thereby within its rights to import and distribute Cuban cigars in the United Kingdom and was not infringing on Hunters & Frankau's exclusive partnership with Habanos.

"The High Court has once again delivered a message to parallel importers that you are not allowed to import trademarked products into the European Economic Area unless you have the real consent of the trademark owner itself," said Jeremy Hertzog, Mischon de Reya's lead partner on the case for Hunters & Frankau.

MasterCigars did not respond to repeated inquiries for comment.

For the full story, see the March 21 issue of Cigar Insider.