The U.S. Supreme Court has handed a victory to a state-owned Cuban cigar company by declining to interfere in its long disagreement with Cohiba, its U.S.-based rival, over trademark rights. By refusing to entertain the appeal filed by General Cigar Co., Inc., the Supreme Court left in place the ruling which gave Cubatabaco, the Cuban company, the victory.
The Cuban company is unable to sell its homegrown Cohiba cigars in the United States, due to the long-running embargo. Though, the company sells them in Cuba and in other parts of the world. General Cigar, on the other hand, sells Dominican-produced Cohiba cigars in the United States.
The dispute was over if the Cuban company has the legal merit to challenge U.S. trademarks. After the denial from the Supreme Court, the case will move to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have the final ruling. This case reached the Supreme Court just after President Barack Obama planned to loosen restrictions with Cuba, keeping the general embargo intact.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by NCinDC – Flickr License