Bacardi files a lawsuit against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over Havana Club brand

The battle between the lawful owners of the Havana Club rum brand and the communist Castro dictatorship who stole the rum factory and brand at gunpoint in 1960 continues.

Via Reuters:

Bacardi has sued the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for allegedly violating the law by reviving a Cuban government entity’s “Havana Club” trademark, which the liquor giant uses on American rum.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Virginia federal court, is part of a long-running battle between Bacardi and Cuba over the “Havana Club” name, which Bacardi says was unlawfully seized along with the assets of Cuban company Jose Arechabala SA by the Castro regime in 1960.

The complaint said Bacardi began selling Havana Club rum in the U.S. in 1995 after buying the brand from JASA. Cuba’s state-run Cubaexport and French spirits company Pernod Ricard sell rum under the same name in other countries, but are barred from selling it in the U.S.

Bermuda-based Bacardi’s founders were exiled from Cuba after the Cuban revolution.

Cubaexport first registered the “Havana Club” trademark in the U.S. in 1976. According to the complaint, Cubaexport tried to renew the registration in 2006, but was thwarted after failing to get a license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The complaint said Cubaexport’s trademark should have expired six months later under federal law, but the PTO renewed the registration shortly after OFAC gave it a license in 2016.

Bacardi’s complaint said the renewal “some ten years after the registration had expired is a moral outrage to be sure, but also violates the law and must be set aside.” It also said Bacardi’s application to register its “Havana Club” mark will likely be refused because of it.

“Bacardi has pledged that we would take every means available to protect ‘Havana Club,'” and the complaint is “a continuation of that ongoing fight,” a Bacardi spokesperson said in a Wednesday email.

This is an obvious case of illegal expropriation and theft, yet for some reason, the USPTO continues to give the corrupt Castro dictatorship credence in its unlawful claim to the brand.