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Cuban enterprise Cubatabaco recently won a court order forbidding the American Company “General  Cigar” to continue using the COHIBA label in that country for its product.

According to a Cubatabaco’s communiqué, American federal judge Robert W. Sweet of the Southern District of New York, made public his decision on December 14.

The communiqué highlights that COHIBA is the world’s most famous and coveted cigar. It is commercialized in all countries except the United States because Washington’s nearly 50-year economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba prevents its sale in that country.

General Cigar, a major U.S. cigar company, sells Dominican-made cigars under the name of COHIBA in the United States, thus breaching the international law, Cubatabaco noted.

In issuing his injunction, Judge Sweet said that in 1992, at the beginning of the cigar boom in the United States, General Cigar chose the name of Cohíba for its new product to take advantage of the reputation and the value of the Cuban label and today it continues to make profit under that facade.

The American company announced that it will appeal Judge Sweet’s decision, even though under the terms of the injunction it can continue selling its Dominican-made cigars until the appeal is solved.

On the other hand, Cubatabaco’s claim before Judge Sweet to recover the profits General Cigar has obtained from using COHIBA’s reputation since 1992 is still pending. No date for the proceeding has been set yet.

U.S. attorneys for Cubatabaco Michael Krinsky and David Goldstein, of the New York law firm Rabinowitz, Boudin, Standard, Krinsky and Lieberman, P.C, said Judge Sweet’s decision fully vindicates the fundamental principle that a company cannot be
allowed to reap what it has not sowed and that it cannot exploit the goodwill and reputation of another enterprise’s product.

Judge Sweet said COHIBA’s reputation for its excellence is so strong that the American consumer associates the name COHIBA to the Cuban brand even when the product is not allowed to be sold in that country.

“This led General Cigar to illegally use the mark by intentional copying,” says the press release.

Judge Sweet’s decision is the latest ruling on the 12- year litigation over the COHIBA trademark in the United States, concludes Cubatabaco’s report.

Source: ACNnews

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