Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fake Cuban Cigars (Part 5)

Last October, after ten long years, a decision was finally made by the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). They had denied Cuba the trademark rights to Havana Club, brand name of the famous liquor. Cubaexport, the Cuban enterprise that had legally registered the trademark in 1978, with the PTO, was rightly upset. They "energetically" rejected the decision. Yet, the South Florida Business Journal described it as "sweet victory."

Events had definitely turned out quite differently than with the Cohiba case. In 2004, a US federal judge had decided that Cuba, specifically Cubatabaco (the state tobacco enterprise), "
had a legally protectable right" to the Cohiba trademark. A competing US company, General Cigar Holdings, was "obviously disappointed" and planned to appeal. But, Cuba had a strong case, just as it did with Havana Club. Yet, the only difference with the Havana Club case was the political conspiracy involved to deny Cuba its legitimate trademark.

To my surprise, it was a vast conspiracy that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars, unethical politicians, and a long chain of emails involving our very own former Governor, Jeb Bush.

[Part 6]

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