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House Bill Backs Bacardi’s Claim On Havana Club Trademark

June 6, 2016

As Bacardi prepares to roll out its Puerto Rico-produced Havana Club brand across the U.S. market, the rum giant may get a boost from Congress in its long-running fight with Pernod Ricard over the Havana Club trademark.

The House Appropriations Committee recently released a Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill for fiscal 2017 that includes a provision which blocks “the licensing of a mark, trade name or commercial name that was confiscated by the Cuban government” during the revolution.

If passed, the bill—which is currently being considered in subcommittee—would deal a serious blow to Pernod Ricard’s claim on the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. Earlier this year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officially renewed Pernod’s trademark for its Cuba-produced version of Havana Club, in a move that surprised many in the drinks industry. In response, Bacardi filed suit in U.S. District Court, maintaining that it rightfully owned the trademark, having purchased the rights from the Arechabalas—the family that founded Havana Club and fled Cuba during the revolution.

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