Cigar Aficionado

Cubatabaco Sues Detroit Tobacconist

Cubatabaco, the state-owned entity that owns all Cuban cigar brands, is suing a Michigan tobacconist for trademark infringement, claiming his cigars shops, named La Casa De La Habana, too closely resemble its own La Casa del Habano franchised cigar retailers.

David Goldstein, a lawyer based in New York representing Cubatabaco, filed papers in a federal court last week in Detroit against Ismail Houmani, owner of La Casa De La Habana in Plymouth, Michigan.

Houmani opened the Plymouth store about a decade ago and since then has expanded, opening three other stores, all bearing the same name, including a flagship store in Detroit. The other two are located in Ann Arbor and Toledo, Ohio.

Each location is a standard brick and mortar cigar store with a smoking lounge and sells cigars from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua.

"I'm not selling or advertising Cuban cigars," Houmani said in an Associated Press report.

Although Cubatabaco, by federal law, is not allowed to actually sell cigars within the borders of the United States, the company can register trademarks, per international agreements.

For more, see tomorrow's Cigar Insider.

"I would agree that habanos s.a. has the right to defend their trademarks anywhere in the world. Lets hope we see a real Casa del Habano in every major city across America, soon! " —January 17, 2011 21:27 PM
"This is not a political issue. Trade marks are to be respected all over the world. A rip off and lack of imagination for a name, in this case." —January 17, 2011 15:33 PM
"What's wrong with that? They have the right to defend them self again the Mafia in Miami,who steal there TRADEMAKE...You will do the same in usa! Please don't tell me the same propaganda again,about Communist ans fake democraty like usa, paid Politicians....LOBBY of arm,food, guns,,,ect...Please act like real human " —January 17, 2011 12:37 PM
"Ok, overthrow your Communist Government and turn it into a Democracy, and then have your lawyers give us a call. Until then, pound sand!" —January 15, 2011 23:19 PM
"This is a great store that carries one of the best selections around. Would be a shame to see them go. " —January 14, 2011 22:21 PM
"FYI, If anyone is sued by Corporacion Habanos, SA, please contact me I have a huge file on this body of law as well as deposition transcripts (etc) and everything you would possibly need to defend yourself against Corporacion Habanos, S.A. Free of charge. -Frank Herrera aka " —January 11, 2011 13:36 PM
"I've been litigating against Corporacion Habanos, S.A. and David Goldstein, Esq. since 2002 regarding the trademark GUANTANAMERA. It's only now after Cuba sues a US retailer that the US public screams foul. Welcome to the jungle. -Frank Herrera aka" —January 11, 2011 13:34 PM
"wtf?" —January 11, 2011 09:04 AM
"Looks like I'll be heading to Plymouth tomorrow!" —January 10, 2011 21:47 PM
"How come the boys from ORD have not confiscated all of that inventory for "promoting the enemy"." —January 10, 2011 21:25 PM
"OK... wait a minute here... let me get this right... we can't legally buy cuban cigars in the United States... but you will let a cuban entity sue an American business? Did I miss something somewhere?" —January 10, 2011 21:11 PM