Cigar Industry

General And Fuente In Legal Battle Over “X”

Jul 13, 2022 | By Gregory Mottola
General And Fuente In Legal Battle Over “X”

Another fight over the use of the letter “X” has erupted and this time it involves General Cigar Co. On July 5, the law firm representing Arturo Fuente Cigar Co. sent a cease-and-desist letter to General Cigar requesting that the company immediately halt use of the X mark found on the logo of General’s newly-launched CAO Bx3 brand. According to Fuente, the prominent use of the letter “X” on the CAO Bx3’s box and packaging is an infringement on its trademark, specifically for the Fuente Fuente OpusX brand of cigars. 

The letter issued to General states:

“We acknowledge and understand that the mark is being used with the CAO house mark but because of the prominent X, your use of the mark BX3 is likely to cause confusion with Fuente and its X marks for smoker’s articles. Thus, we request that you cease use of this and any other Fuente trademark, so that consumers are not deceived into mistakenly believing that your cigars are associated with or made, licensed, or approved by Fuente.”

In response, General filed a declaratory judgment trademark lawsuit on July 11 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against Fuente Cigar Ltd. and Fuente Marketing Ltd. General is seeking a declaration that its CAO Bx3 mark does not infringe on Fuente’s trademarks.

General argues that other CAO brands—specifically the CAO Lx2 and Mx2—have been on the market for more than a decade, and both incorporate the letter “X” in their respective trade dress and logos, like the Bx3. Fuente, says General, never took legal issue with these brands in the past. 

“Fuente’s demand ignored General Cigar’s longstanding use of X as a brand motif in connection with CAO cigars, including CAO Lx2 and CAO Mx2,” General said in a statement. “Most importantly, Fuente ignored the obvious: consumers could never confuse the parties’ respective marks and trade dress.”

General’s use of the letter “X” on the new BX3 brand is larger than on the previous CAO brands. 

Fuente Fuente OpusX
Fuente Fuente OpusX
CAO Bx3
CAO Bx3
CAO Lx2
CAO Lx2

Regis Broersma, senior vice president for General’s parent company Scandinavian Tobacco Group, calls Fuente’s position “baseless,” adding that Fuente never had issue with previous CAO brands that used the “X” motif. 

“The fact is that CAO has a series of legacy brands with ‘X’ in their name and their trade dress, including CAO Lx2, CAO Mx2 and others, which have coexisted with Fuente brands for many years.”

Fuente president Carlos Fuente Jr. responded to questions about the battle from Cigar Aficionado. “We are a family-run and family-owned cigar factory. This is another case of David v. Goliath,” he said. “I am very disappointed in just a very, very few of my colleagues.”

This wouldn’t be the first time that Fuente has gone after another cigar company for using the letter “X.” In 2007, Fuente took legal action against Gurkha’s use of crossed swords on a series of cigar tins, claiming that the swords and tin design too closely resembled the OpusX insignia. The two companies settled in 2008. Some might remember in 2005 when Fuente went after the now defunct EO Brands for its use of an “X” on the Serie X line. Those cases, however, were against small companies. Now, Fuente is engaged in a legal battle with one of the largest tobacco corporations in the world. 

“We look forward to vindicating our position in federal court,” Broersma said.

CAO Fuente Fuente OpusX Arturo Fuente Cigar Co. General Cigar Co.

More in Cigar Industry

See all
Liana Fuente Resigns From Arturo Fuente Cigar Co.

Liana Fuente Resigns From Arturo Fuente Cigar Co.

After 15 years with one of the largest family-owned cigar operations in the premium segment, Liana …

Aug 16, 2022
Handmade Cigar Imports To The U.S. Remain Positive Through May

Handmade Cigar Imports To The U.S. Remain Positive Through May

Cigar import numbers continue their upward trend this year, improving on 2021, one of the best ever …

Aug 12, 2022
Tabacalera Finalizes Purchase Of Dominican Cigar Factory

Tabacalera Finalizes Purchase Of Dominican Cigar Factory

Tabacalera de Garcia, one of the world’s largest handmade cigar factories, has been completely …

Aug 2, 2022
PCA And BCAA Form New Collaboration

PCA And BCAA Form New Collaboration

Two cigar industry organizations, the Premium Cigar Association and the Boutique Cigar Association of …

Jul 26, 2022
Handmade Cigar Imports Continue To Grow

Handmade Cigar Imports Continue To Grow

Imports of premium, handmade cigars were up 5.3 percent for the first four months of this year when …

Jul 18, 2022
Standout Cigars From The 2022 PCA Trade Show

Standout Cigars From The 2022 PCA Trade Show

The handmade cigar industry gathered in Las Vegas this week at the PCA trade show to exhibit upcoming …

Jul 15, 2022