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Tuesday, 8 August 2006


Reuters reports that Bacardi is planning to relaunch HAVANA CLUB rum in the US. The brand has had a chequered history in the US. It was originally owned in Cuba by Jose Arechabala S.A., but the company’s assets were requisitioned by the Cuban Government in 1960. In 1990, Bacardi bought the mark from Arechabala.

In the meantime, the Cuban Government got together with Pernod Richard in a joint venture to market HAVANA CLUB rum. However, the US Supreme Court ruled that it had no right to the HAVANA CLUB trade mark in the US and, on 3 August, the USPTO ruled that the joint venture’s mark was cancelled. In the light of this ruling, Bacardi has decided to enter the market under the mark.

The IPKat isn’t keen on the sequestration of IP rights, but he doesn’t have that much sympathy with Bacardi since it sounds like they knew they were dicing with danger when they bought the mark. Merpel adds that neither outcome is particularly good for avoiding consumer confusion.

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