Pernod Ricard may lose Havana Club under bipartisan bill prohibiting recognition of stolen Cuban brands

The days of Pernod Ricard profiting off the Cuban brand Havana Club through its partnership with the communist Castro dictatorship, which stole the brand at gunpoint from its rightful owners, may be numbered. A bipartisan bill in congress aims to end the recognition of trademarks that were stolen outright by the Castro dictatorship and now produce millions of dollars in revenue for the regime.

Via The Drinks Business:

Could Pernod Ricard lose Havana Club if this next bill is passed?

he bipartisan bill which is called ‘No Stolen Trademarks Honored in America’ is, according to a dispatch statement from the EFE news agency, set to protect assets that were allegedly “illegally seized” by the Cuban government.

The bill was presented last Thursday by US legislators democrat Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee along with republican Marci Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere.

According to local reports, one senator explained: “Any confiscation or seizure of assets by the Cuban regime is and will always be a criminal act that should not be rewarded by the US government.”

If the bill is passed, it would essentially prohibit the use of a trademark when the person using it knows, at the time of acquisition, that the name of the trademark is the same or similar to that of one confiscated by the Cuban government.

One example given outlined how, in 1994, the Cuban rum producer Cuba Ron, also known as Cubaexport, registered the Havana Club trademark in the US, which bears the name of a trademark in 1959 that had already been nationalised in Cuba.

Since Bacardi bought the trademark and recipe from the descendants of the founder and original owner of Havana Club Jose Arechabala SA, an historical ongoing feud between Bacardi and Cuba Ron’s partner Pernod Ricard has seen the two companies battle out the trademark ownership for two decades.

However, if the bill is passed, under the new legislation, it could spell disaster for Pernod Ricard and even mean that it would no longer be able to exercise rights related to Havana Club.

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