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Posted November 11, 2008 by publisher in Cuban Cigars

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The Havana Journal has obtained a copy of the Notice of Opposition filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office whereby Habanos SA, a Cuba based corporation, has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Kansas City Missouri based Xikar Inc for using the word “Havana” and the term “Havana Collection” to describe Xikar cigar lighters and that such use is a violation of Habanos SA trademark.

As you read through the fifty three points of interest listed below, you will find odd legal claims such as #15 where the document claims that use of the word Havana should be restricted to products made in Havana and #27 claiming that dictionaries define the word Havana to mean a cigar made in Cuba. There is also #36 stating that the cigar lighters named Havana Collection are “deliberately and falsely associating those goods with Havana”.

So, Habanos SA is claiming that these cigar lighters in the “Havana Collection” are misleading to the public and harmful to their brand. It would appear that if Habanos SA wins this case that they then will have set a precedent and will be able to lay claims to ANY product in the world that uses the word Havana. Does this mean the Habanos SA will challenge the Havana Journal since it is not published in Havana Cuba?

For all you lawyers out there, please post your opinions here or send them in via email at the bottom of this page and I will post them for you if you want to remain anonymous.

Here is the document scanned into text so some information may be missing or in error. Posted for reference only. Please link to this page if you use this material at other websites.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Electronic Filing System
http://estta.usnto.gov

ESTTA Tracking number: ESTTA238117

Filing date: 09/22/2008

IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BEFORE THE TRADEMARK TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD

Notice of Opposition

Notice is hereby given that the following parties oppose registration of the indicated application.

Opposers Information

Name Corporacion Habanos, S.A.

Granted to Date of previous extension 09/24/2008

Address Avenida 3ra #2006e/20 y 22, Miramar Havana, CUBA

Name Empresa Cubana del Tabaco, dba Cubatabaco

Granted to Date of previous extension 09/24/2008

Address O’Reilly No. 104 Havana, CUBA

David B. Goldstein

Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky & Lieberman, P.C. 111 BroadwaySuite 1102

New York, NY 10006-1901 UNITED STATES

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  Phone:212-254-1111

Applicant Information

Application No 77273188
Publication date 05/27/2008
Opposition Filing Date 09/22/2008
Opposition Period Ends 09/24/2008

Applicant
XIKAR, INC.
3305 Terrace Street
Kansas City, MO 64111 UNITED STATES

Goods/Services Affected by Opposition

Class 034. First Use: 2006/08/00 First Use In Commerce: 2006/08/00
All goods and services in the class are opposed, namely: CIGAR CUTTERS; NON-ELECTRIC CIGAR LIGHTERS NOT OF PRECIOUS METAL; HUMIDORS; AND CIGAR CARRYING CASES NOT OF PRECIOUS METAL

Grounds for Opposition

Attorney information
Deceptiveness
Priority and likelihood of confusion
Trademark Act section 2(a) Trademark Act section 2(d)

The mark is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive

Trademark Act section 2(e)(3)
Torres v. Cantine Torresella S.r.LFraud

808 F.2d 46, 1 USPQ2d 1483 (Fed. Cir. 1986)

Marks Cited by Opposer as Basis for Opposition

U.S. Registration No. 2177837 Application Date 08/16/1996

Registration Date 08/04/1998 Foreign Priority Date NONE

Word Mark HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492
Design Mark
Description of Mark The mark consists of a black rectangle with the design of a tobacco leaf and the wording “HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492.”

Goods/Services Class 034. First use:
raw tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, cut tobacco rappee, matches, tobacco, tobacco
pipes, pipe-holders, ashtrays, match boxes, cigar cases, and humidors

U.S. Registration No. 1970911 Application Date 09/22/1994

Registration Date 04/30/1996 Foreign Priority Date NONE

Word Mark LA CASA DEL HABANO
Design Mark
Description of Mark NONE

Goods/Services Class 034. First use: raw tobacco; cigars; cigarettes; cut tobacco; rappee; manufactured tobacco of all kinds; matches; tobacco; smoking pipes; pipe-holders, not of precious metal; ashtrays, not of precious metal; match boxes, cigar cases and humidors, not of precious metal

U.S. Application No. 77157193 Application Date 04/16/2007

Registration Date NONE Foreign Priority Date 04/13/2007
Word Mark HABANOS
Design Mark
Description of Mark NONE
Goods/Services Class A. First use: cigars

Attachments 75151320#TMSN.gif (1 page )( bytes )
74576950#TMSN.gif (1 page )( bytes )
77157193#TMSN.jpeg (1 page )( bytes )
havana collection.Opp. 77273188.pdf (11 pages )(49613 bytes )

Certificate of Service

The undersigned hereby certifies that a copy of this paper has been served upon all parties, at their address record by First Class Mail on this date.

Signature David B. Goldstein

Name David B. Goldstein

Date 09/22/2008

IN THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE BEFORE THE TRADEMARK TRIAL AND APPEALS BOARD

In the matter of trademark application
Serial No. 77273188
Filed September 6, 2007
For the mark HAVANA COLLECTION
Published in the Official Gazette on May 27, 2008

CORPORACION HABANOS, S.A., d.b.a. )
HABANOS, S.A., and EMPRESA CUBANA DEL )
TABACO, d.b.a. CUBATABACO, )
) Opposers, )
v. ) Opposition No. BLANK
) DAVID GAROFALO, )
) Applicant. )

NOTICE OF OPPOSITION

Opposers CORPORACION HABANOS, S.A. (hereinafter “Habanos, S.A.”) and EMPRESA CUBANA DEL TABACO (hereinafter “Cubatabaco) (together “Opposers”) believe that they will be damaged by registration on the principal register of the mark HAVANA COLLECTION, Application Serial No. 77273188 (hereinafter “Application”), which was published for opposition on May 27, 2008, and, by and through their undersigned attorneys, hereby oppose the registration of said Application, and aver as follows:

THE PARTIES

1. Applicant Xikar, Inc. is a corporation located in Kansas City, Missouri and incorporated in Kansas.

2. Opposer Habanos, S.A. is a corporation organized under the laws of Cuba, with its principal place of business in Havana, Cuba.

3. Opposer Cubatabaco is a state corporation with independent juridical personality and independent property established by law No. 1191, dated April 25, 1966, of the Republic of Cuba, with its principal place of business in Havana, Cuba.

4. Opposer Habanos, S.A. currently owns, among others, the federal registration of the mark, HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492, U.S. Reg. No. 2,177,837, applied for on August 16, 1996, in the United States for “raw tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, cut tobacco rappee, matches, tobacco, tobacco pipes, pipe-holders, ashtrays, match boxes, cigar cases, and humidors” in International Class 34. Habanos, S.A. uses this mark, translated as “unique Havana cigars since 1492,” throughout the world exclusively for cigars that are of 100% Cuban origin, and related cigar accessories.

5. The mark HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492 appears regularly in advertisements for Habanos. S.A.‘s 100% Cuban origin cigars and related products in international and United States publications. This mark is used in such advertisements both in Spanish and in English translation as “Habanos Unique since 1492” and “Havanas Unique since 1492.”

6. Opposer Habanos, S.A. is engaged, inter alia, in the trade, marketing, and advertising of Cuban cigars and related products, including cigar accessories, throughout the world, including in Cuba, and the export of Cuban cigars and related products throughout the world (with the exception of the United States due to the U.S. trade embargo). Habanos, S.A. emphasizes that its cigars are made in Cuba from 100% Cuban-grown tobacco in its promotion, marketing and advertising, including in advertisements in the U.S.

7. Opposer Cubatabaco currently owns, among others, the federal registrations in the United States of the mark LA CASA DEL HABANO, U.S. Reg. No. 1,970,911, applied for on September 22, 1994, translated as “the house of the Cuban cigar,” for “raw tobacco; cigars; cigarettes; cut tobacco; rappee; manufactured tobacco of all kinds; matches; tobacco; smoking pipes; pipe-holders, not of precious metal; ashtrays, not of precious metal; match boxes, cigar cases and humidors, not of precious metal” in International Class 34, and for LA CASA DEL HABANO, U.S. Registration No. 2,212,119, applied for on August 16, 1996, as a service mark in International Class 35 for “retail store services featuring tobacco and smokers’ accessories” and in International Class 42 for “social club services, bar services, and restaurant services.”

8. Opposer Cubatabaco’s LA CASA DEL HABANO Marks regularly appear in advertisements in the United States in connection with cigars that are of 100% Cuban origin and related products.

9. Opposer Cubatabaco currently owns the application in the USPTO for the certification mark HABANOS, Application Serial No. 77157193, in IC A for “cigars,” filed April 16, 2007. The mark “certifies that the cigars have their geographical origin in Cuba and are made from Cuban grown tobacco, `Cuba’ meaning the entire national territory of the Republic of Cuba.”

10. The term “HABANA,” the Spanish (and French) word for HAVANA, is an appellation of origin (also known as a denomination or indication of geographical origin) for Cuban-origin tobacco and tobacco products registered by Opposer Cubatabaco in 1967 in accordance with the 1958 Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration, as revised and amended.

11. The term “HABANOS” is the appellation of origin for cigars originating in the entire national territory of the Republic of Cuba, and was registered by Opposer Cubatabaco in 1967 pursuant to the Lisbon Agreement. Under Opposer Cubatabaco’s authority, Opposer Habanos, S.A. uses the “Habanos” geographical denomination of origin on all packages of its 100% Cuban origin cigars.

THE APPLICATION PROCEEDINGS

12. On September 6. 2007, Applicant filed an application in the PTO under Section 1(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051(a), to register the standard character mark HAVANA COLLECTION in IC 34 for “cigars; cigar cutters; non-electric cigar lighters not of precious metal; humidors; and cigar carrying cases not of precious metal.”

13. The Application claimed first use and first use in commerce dates of August 2006 for all the goods.

14. Applicant submitted a specimen showing use of the mark in connection with cigar cutters only.

15. On October 10, 2007, the PTO Examiner issued an Office Action initially refusing registration of the mark under section 2(a) and (e)(3) of the Act , stating: The primary significance of the term “Havana” is geographic. The cigars do not originate in this geographic location. The public is likely to believe that applicant’s goods come from this place because Havana, Cuba is a place where cigars are produced. Furthermore, this belief would materially influence consumers to purchase the goods and/or services because Havana, Cuba is renown for the production of cigars.

(citations omitted).

16. The Examiner also cited Opposer Cubatabaco’s prior pending HABANOS certification mark application, stating that there may be a likelihood of confusion between the two marks.

17. On April 10, 2008, Applicant submitted its Response to Office Action, in which it removed “cigars” from the recitation of goods. Applicant admitted that its “goods are not manufactured or produced in and have no connection with Havana,” but argued, without evidence, that “use of the word `Havana’ is not material to the purchasing decision.” Applicant also argued that its mark is distinguished from the cited HABANOS mark because it no longer includes cigars and does not use the word “habano” or “habanos.”

18. Upon information and belief, Applicant’s claimed first use and first use in commerce dates in its Application are prior to Applicant’s actual first use and actual first
use in commerce dates for at least some of the cited goods.

19. On May 27, 2008, the Application was published for opposition.

20. On June 24, 2008, the Board granted Opposers’ timely filed requests for an extension of time until September 24, 2008, to file a Notice of Opposition to the Application.

21. Applicant’s mark is, inter alia, primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive, and geographically deceptive of the identified goods, and is confusingly similar to
Opposers’ above-identified registered marks in IC 34 for the same or similar goods, and with Opposer Cubatabaco’s pending HABANOS certification mark application.

THE MEANING OF ” HAVANA” AND THE ASSOCIATION OF CIGARS WITH HAVANA AND CUBA

22. The word “Havana” primarily refers to the largest city and the capital of Cuba.

23. The primary significance of the mark, HAVANA COLLECTION, is a generally known geographic location – Havana, Cuba.

24. The addition of the common term “collection” does not alter the mark’s primary geographic significance.

25. In addition to denoting the city of Havana, Cuba, “Havana” is used, recognized, and understood throughout the world, including in the United States, by both cigar consumers and within the cigar industry, to denote Havana’s most famous export — cigars that are of 100% Cuban origin, made exclusively from tobacco grown in Cuba and manufactured in Cuba,primarily in or near the city and province of Havana, Cuba.

26. Likewise, the Spanish word “Habano” (and its plural, “Habanos”) is recognized among cigar consumers and in the cigar industry throughout the world and in the United States to denote cigars that are of 100% Cuban origin.

27. Numerous English language dictionaries and encyclopedias, including those published in the United States, define the word “Havana” to mean a cigar made in Cuba and/or from Cuban tobacco, in addition to denoting the largest and capital city of Cuba.

28. Spanish language dictionaries define “Habano” as relating to, or from, “La Habana” (Spanish for Havana, Cuba), or by extension the island of Cuba, or as a cigar made in Cuba from Cuban tobacco.

29. The leading English-language cigar books, including in book titles, consumer guides, and cigar magazines sold in the United States, and news and feature stories appearing in general circulation magazines, newspapers, and other publications directed to the general public in the U.S use the terms “Havana(s)” and “Habano(s)” to denote a 100% Cuban-origin cigar.

30. For decades prior to Applicant’s September 6, 2007 Application, the term “Havana” has been used to mean a Cuban-origin cigar.

31. Cigar accessories, including at least some of the goods identified in Applicant’s Application, are produced in Havana, Cuba.

32. It is common for manufacturers or distributors of cigars in the United States and elsewhere, as with Opposers, to also produce or distribute cigar accessories using the same marks as their cigar marks, in connection with the sale and promotion of their cigars, and to market their cigar accessories as related to their cigars.

33. Cigar consumers are also cigar accessories consumers, and commonly associate cigars with cigar accessories, including as to the source and location of the cigars and accessories.

34. Cuba is internationally recognized, including in the United States, as the most renowned country in the world for the growth of tobacco for cigars, and for the production and manufacture of cigars, including cigars of the highest quality, and Havana is internationally recognized, including in the United States, as the city and province most renowned for the manufacture and export of the highest quality cigars.

35. Consumers in the United States and elsewhere in the world strongly associate cigars with Cuba and particularly with Havana. Cuba.

36. Because of the powerful goods/place association between cigars and Havana, Cuba, and the common consumer association of cigars with cigar accessories, consumers are likely to believe that Applicant’s goods come from Havana, Cuba, or Cuba.

37. Applicant promotes its HAVANA COLLECTION goods by deliberately and falsely associating those goods with Havana, Cuba, and with Havana cigars, that is, cigars from Cuba.

38. Applicant has no reason to select a mark using the term “Havana” for cigar-related accessories not from Havana or Cuba, or to promote its non-Cuba goods by associating them with Havana, Cuba and Havana cigars, other than to seek to capitalize on the powerful consumer association of cigar products with Havana and Cuba.

39. The applied-for mark denotes, is, and will be understood by United States consumers as denoting, that the cigar accessories bearing that mark are manufactured in
Havana, Cuba, or Cuba.

40. As Applicant admitted, its goods do not come from, or otherwise originate in, Havana, Cuba or elsewhere in Cuba.

41. The cigar-consuming public is likely to believe that the place identified by the applied-for mark – Havana, Cuba - describes Applicant’s goods, and their geographic origin, when the goods in fact do not come from Havana or Cuba.

42. Consumers’ mistaken belief that Applicant’s goods come from Havana or Cuba, would be a material factor in such consumers’ purchasing decision.

INJURY TO OPPOSERS

43. Opposers believe that they will be damaged by the registration of the applied-for mark upon the Principal Register, including by Applicant’s use of that mark on cigar
accessories of non-Cuban origin. Such registration and use will deceive consumers into believing that Cuban-origin cigar-related products are presently available for purchase in the U.S.

44. Applicant’s mark, when used on or in connection with Applicant’s cigar accessories, is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive, with respect to
Opposers’ registered marks in IC 34 – HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492 & DESIGN and LA CASA DEL HABANO – for the same or similar goods, and with the prior pending application for Opposer Cubatabaco’s HABANOS certification mark.

45. Opposers’ success in marketing 100% Cuban-origin cigars and related cigar accessories to U.S. consumers as soon as U.S. law permits, including through use of the registered marks HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492 & DESIGN, LA CASA DEL HABANO, the applied-for certification mark HABANOS, will be damaged and diminished if Applicant is permitted to register a mark including the term “Havana” for cigar-related accessories, which deceptively suggests that Applicant’s goods are of Cuban origin.

FIRST GROUND FOR OPPOSITION

46. Opposers repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Notice of Opposition as if fully set forth herein.

47. The applied-for mark, as used on or in connection with Applicant’s identified goods, is geographically deceptive and primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive within the meaning of section 2(a), (e)(3) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), (e)(3), for lack of the requisite nexus with Havana, Cuba or Cuba, and, therefore, registration of the mark must be refused.

SECOND GROUND FOR OPPOSITION

48. Opposers repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Notice of Opposition as if fully set forth herein.

49. Applicant’s mark so resembles Opposers’ registered marks in IC 34 for the same or similar goods – HABANOS UNICOS DESDE 1492 & DESIGN, Reg. No. 2,177,837, and LA CASA DEL HABANO, Reg. Nos. 1,970,911 – and with the prior pending application for Opposer Cubatabaco’s HABANOS certification mark, Application Serial No. 77157193, in IC A, and used by Opposers in the U.S. in advertising, as to be likely, when used on or in connection with Applicant’s goods, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive, within the meaning of section 2(d) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(d), and, therefore, registration of the mark must be refused.

THIRD GROUND FOR OPPOSITION

50. Opposers repeat and reallege each and every allegation set forth in paragraphs 1 through 45 of this Notice of Opposition as if fully set forth herein.

51. Upon information and belief, Applicant made a material misrepresentation of fact when it claimed first use and first use of the mark in commerce in August 2006 for all the identified goods in the Application.

52. Upon information and belief, the PTO relied upon Applicant’s representation that all of the identified goods were in use in commerce as of August 2006 in publishing the mark for opposition.

53. Because, upon information and belief, Applicant’s aforesaid representations were false, registration of the mark must be refused.

WHEREFORE, Opposers Corporacion Habanos, S.A. and Empresa Cubana del Tabaco pray that registration of the mark in Application Serial No. 77273188 be refused, and that this Opposition be sustained in favor of the Opposers.

Dated: September 22, 2008
Respectfully submitted,

By: /David B. Goldstein/
DAVID B. GOLDSTEIN
RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD, KRINSKY & LIEBERMAN, P.C.
111 Broadway – Suite 1102
New York, New York 10006-1901
212-254-1111
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Attorneys for Opposers Corporacion habanos, S.A. and Empresa Cubana del Tabaco

CERTIFICATE OF ELECTRONIC FILING

I hereby certify that this Notice of Opposition to registration of the mark in Application Serial No. 77273188 is being filed electronically today, September 22, 2008, on the Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals for the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

/David B. Goldstein/
DAVID B. GOLDSTEIN

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

The undersigned certifies that a true and correct copy of the foregoing Notice of Opposition was served on Applicant by mailing, postage prepaid, said copy on September 22, 2008 via U.S. Certified Mail, return receipt requested, to the address of record and to the attorney and correspondent listed for Application No. 77273188.

Xikar, Inc.
3305 Terrace Street
Kansas City, MO 64111

J. David Wharton, Reg. No. 25,717 STINSON MORRISON HECKER LLP
1201 Walnut St
Suite 2800
Kansas City, MO 64106-2159

/David B. Goldstein/
DAVID B. GOLDSTEIN

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

See the Havana Collection cigar lighters here

See the Havana Collection cigar cutters here

Havana Journal Inc. owns hundreds of Havana keyword domains that are scheduled for development and listed at Havana.biz. We are proud of our “Havana Collection” and find it offensive that Habanos would try to claim the word Havana for their own selfish use.

Find Habanos on Amazon

  1. Follow up post #1 added on November 11, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    A lawyer friend of the Havana Journal has been kind enough to inform me that this is not an offensive move by Habanos but yet more of a defensive move.

    The way I understand it is that trademarks are categorized into classes and tobacco related products fall into class 34.

    I was told that Xikar filed for a trademark on their Havana Collection and Habanos is replying formally to Xikar’s trademark application and opposing it based on the grounds that when it comes to tobacco related products the word Havana can be understood to mean Habanos.

    So, maybe Habanos is making a long shot claim here but if they ever want to produce a line of cigar cutters they need to challenge this trademark registration by Xikar.

    I was told this opposition does not apply to cigar lighters.

    In summary, Habanos is not the aggressor or instigator here. It is simply challenging a trademark application. So, they are not suing Xikar and they are not trying to lay claim to all things Havana.

    If anyone else would like to clarify, please help me out. If you want to remain anonymous, feel free to use the link in the footer and send me an email and I will post a comment for you.

    Thanks to our friend who called us to clarify this legal situation.



    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on March 15, 2010 by ricksad with 1 total posts

    “Havana Journal Inc. owns hundreds of Havana keyword domains that are scheduled for development and listed at Havana.biz. We are proud of our “Havana Collection” and find it offensive that Habanos would try to claim the word Havana for their own selfish use.”

    Exactly who is using the therm “Havana” for “their own selfish use?”

    what noble purpose do you have in owning “hundreds” of Havana keyword domains? 

    Habanos S.A. CLEARLY has a legitimate interest in preventing the dilution of its brands…


  3. Follow up post #3 added on March 15, 2010 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I agree. They should protect the word Habanos for which they have may have a claim but they do not have any rights to the word Havana.



    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on August 10, 2011 by Gerry Zaragemca

    I think it is all in the context in which you are using the name. Hollywood filed a suit against the city of Hollywood in Florida for using the same name. Coca Cola had filed suit for business using anything which resemblance their name,etc. I have a situation of people trying to use my business name. International Club of Percussionists, without asking me for the permission, or giving me any money for it. The whole point is why you want to capitalized on somebody else name which have been in use?, why could they not create their own name?. Gerry Zaragemca


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