• April 23, 2024

General Cigar Appeals Cohiba Ruling

 General Cigar Appeals Cohiba Ruling
Photo: Dmitry Ersler

Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s (STG) General Cigar Co. has appealed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) December 2022 cancelation of the Cohiba trademark registration in the United States.

“By initiating this lawsuit to appeal the TTAB decision and to obtain a declaration of its rights, General Cigar expects the court will ultimately rule it has exclusive U.S. rights to the Cohiba marks,” Regis Broersma, president of STG’s North America and Rest of the World division was quoted as saying by Cigar Journal.

STG and Empresa Cubana del Tabaco (Cubatabaco) have fought over the U.S. rights to the Cohiba trademark since 1997. The TTAB sided in favor of the Cuban cigar conglomerate in its claim on the name, saying that General Cigar Co.’s registrations on the Cohiba trademark are to be canceled due to a violation of an international agreement that dates back to 1929.

However, General Cigar believes the TTAB decision is improperly based on the re-litigation of a claim that was decided in General Cigar’s favor by a U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit more than a decade ago.

In February 2005, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled unanimously in favor of General Cigar.

While there are more trademark conflicts between Cuban and American cigar companies, Cohiba is a unique case due to both its prominence on the global stage and its creation by the state-run tobacco company after the Cuban Revolution, whereas other brands with Cuban roots that General Cigar Co. owns, such as Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey and La Gloria Cubana, were assumed by the Cuban government in 1959.

While the lawsuit moves forward, General Cigar said it will continue to manufacture, market, sell and enforce its Cohiba trademarks.