Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Pernod Ricard of France announced that is will give up its Havana Club rum brand for the US market and that it has registered the Havanista rum brand in the United States.

It will launch the brand if/when the US Embargo on Cuban imports is lifted.

Havana Club brand trademark dispute

Pernod has been fighting a lengthy legal battle in the US concerning the Havana Club trademark. Pernod Ricard sued Bacardi for “deceptive advertising” since Bacardi’s rum is not made in Cuba but the US Supreme Court refused to review a decision by a lower court that prevented Pernod Ricard rum renewing its Havana Club trademark registration in the US.

The Havana Journal has been covering the Havana Club rum trademark dispute for many years.

The Wall Street Journal writes “A 1998 law in the U.S., known as “Section 211” for the section of the appropriations bill in which it was included, barred the registration of certain Cuban trademarks in the U.S. While Cubaexport argued that the rule applied only to new registrations, the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia upheld a lower court’s decision saying the rule also applies to the renewal of previously registered trademarks.”

Pernod released a statement that, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, it registered the trademark Havanista in the United States.

Havana Club International is a joint-venture between Pernod Ricard and Corporación Cuba Ron. CEO Jerome Cottin-Bizonne says “with Havanista, if the embargo is lifted, we will be happy to bring the unique quality and taste of Cuban rum to U.S. consumers and he went on to say if you like Havana Club - you will love Havanista!”

Havana Club is distributed in over 120 markets worldwide and may reach sales of 4million cases in 2012.

Havanista.com Trade Mark and Domain Names

Pernod Ricard must have seen the writing on the wall and either knew it was going to loose or at least wanted to have a back up plan.

The company filed for the Havanista brand on March 19, 2010 but the registration was not approved until August 9, 2011.

Havana Club Holdings registered Havanista.us on February 24, 2011.

It firmed up its ownership of the Havanista brand with an apparent purchase of the domain name Havanista.com in late April 2011.

As of April 29, 2011 the owner of the domain name was Emmanuel Harrar of The Flying Media then as of May 3, 2011 Havana Club Holding SA was the registrant of the domain name.

——————————Havana Journal Comments——————————

To me the Havana Club brand belonged to Pernod Ricard but US Cuba relations and Cuban American politics is very complicated and sad really.

In my opinion, the Bacardi family is a pro-Embargo family run company that created the Havana Club brand solely for the purpose of stealing it from Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government’s Cuba Ron company. Today, Bacardi won.

Do I expect to see more Bacardi Havana Club rum for sale in the US? No.