Bacardi rejects Pernod’s ‘inaccurate allegations’ over Havana Club brand
08.16.2006, 07:49 AM
PARIS (AFX) – Privately-owned drinks group Bacardi said it will
‘vigorously defend’ its rights to market rum under the Havana Club
brand, in response to legal threats based on ‘inaccurate allegations’ by
France’s Pernod Ricard, which uses the name outside the US.
On August 9, Pernod Ricard said it will sue over the refusal of its
application to renew the registration of the Havana Club rum trademark
in the US and will sue any group that markets non-Cuban rum under that
name in the US.
The rum, which Pernod has produced in a joint venture with Cuban group
Cuba Ron since 1994, has not been sold in the US due to the trade embargo.
Bacardi, which re-launched the Havana Club brand in the US on August 8,
said it ‘reaffirms its ownership of the brand’ and said its packaging
does not mislead consumers, as the front of the bottle ‘clearly states’
that its Havana Club is made in Puerto Rico.
‘The company will vigorously defend its position in the wake of
inaccurate allegations in a lawsuit filed by Pernod Ricard,’ Bacardi
said in a statement.
On Aug 3, the US Patent and Trademark office told Cuba, which has
controlled the brand since 1960 following the revolution, that its
Havana Club trademark registration is ‘cancelled/expired’, making it
difficult for Cuba to claim any rights to the trademark in the US.
Cuba obtained the US trademark in 1974 when the brand’s original owners
let the US trademark lapse.
But Bacardi said this took place to a legal ‘loophole’ and insists it
owns the rights after it bought the brand from the original owners.
Pernod said on August 9 it is ‘confident of its defence of the rights to
brand and will appeal’ to the relevant Court against the rejection of
the application to renew the US trade mark registration and against any
use of the Havana Club trademark for any rum which is not Cuban.’