EU versus US: Havana Club Rum Case. Presenters: Will Prible David Razmgar Alicia Skiba Timothy Skrynnikov. History and Context. Complicated Story Several issues: Trademark violations Revolution Capitalism versus socialism Two groups of players: US versus EU
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The Bacardi family fled Cuba and went into exile in 1960.
Trade name “Havana Club” was revived in 1993 by a joint enterprise of the principal rum producers of Cuba and the French consortium Pernord Ricard enterprise
Bacardi began using the trademark “Havana Club”
Pernord Ricard filed suit, but a NY Federal Judge ruled that Cuban nationals could not assert their trademark rights
Cuba registered the Havana Club trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in 1976 after its former owners let it lapse in 1973.
(This law denies protection for trademarks linked to business confiscated by Cuban government since communist takeover in 1959).
-In 10 years the Havana Club reached an annual worldwide sales of 2 million.
-When (not if) the U.S. lifts its sanctions that prohibit sales of Havana Club label in the U.S. the brand could gain a big share of the 1 billion U.S. rum market.
-Cuban officials alleged that Bacardi has sought to oust Castro by financing plots to murder.
-Bacardi executives have been instrumental in lobbying for tougher sanctions against Cuba.
-The WTO ruling impacts not just few companies but IP owners worldwide.
-Cuba and France which own the worldwide brand in a 50-50 joint venture.
- Trademarks and trade names are vital assets of the many U.S. companies that engage in the international trade.