The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board yesterday ruled in favor of Cuban-government-owned Cubatabaco (Habanos S.A.) in its lawsuit against Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s General Cigar Company over the trademark registrations for the Cohiba mark in the United States.
General Cigar, which manufacturers and markets the Cohiba brand in the United States, has vowed to rigorously defend its rights and immediately appeal the ruling. Régis Broersma, president of STG’s North America and Rest of World divisions said, “Cubatabaco’s challenge to General Cigar’s ownership of the Cohiba trademark in the U.S. has no merit and this decision by the TTAB will have no impact on General Cigar’s plans to manufacture, sell, market, and enforce the Cohiba mark in the U.S. General Cigar’s trademark registrations will also remain active while the appeal is pending.”
Owen McKeon, US general counsel for STG commented, “General Cigar disagrees with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to cancel General Cigar’s Cohiba trademark registrations and intends to appeal the Board’s decision in federal court. The TTAB’s decision was based solely on a claim that Cubatabaco improperly sought to re-litigate. Cubatabaco’s claim had been decided over a decade ago in General Cigar’s favor in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and is contrary to clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”
In February 2005, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled unanimously in favor of General Cigar Co., Inc. in the lawsuit filed by Cubatabaco in 1997 over the trademark ownership of the Cohiba brand in the United States. In the ruling, the Second Circuit held that “General Cigar’s legal right to the Cohiba mark has been established against Cubatabaco. General Cigar has a right to use the mark in the United States because it owns the mark in the United States.”
About Cohiba Cigars: Handcrafted in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras and the U.S., Cohiba cigars are critically acclaimed for their meticulous construction and refined taste. With its iconic white box and red dot logo, the core brand of Cohiba is complemented by these super premium collections, each offering cigar connoisseurs luxurious and memorable smoking experiences: Cohiba Black, Cohiba Blue, Cohiba Connecticut, Cohiba Royale, Cohiba Nicaragua and Cohiba Macassar. In addition, the artisans of Cohiba produce special edition expressions featuring proprietary tobaccos and released in extremely limited quantity, including Cohiba Spectre and Cohiba Serie M. Visit www.cohiba.com for more information.
About Scandinavian Tobacco Group: Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S is a world-leading manufacturer of handmade and machine-rolled cigars with an annual production of more than four billion cigars. The Group holds market-leading positions in several categories and its products are sold in more than 100 markets. Scandinavian Tobacco Group is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and employs approximately 10,000 people globally. The Group is also the largest internet and catalog retailer of cigars and related accessories in the US, where STG has over 1 million active online consumers. For more information, visit www.st-group.com.