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The US Supreme Court granted a victory to the Cuban company Cubatabaco in its lawsuit against a US company for the use of the name of Cohiba cigars in this country, closing a long legal battle.

Without comment, the highest court rejected US justice evaluating an appeal by the American company General Cigar Co., based in Delaware, and so left in effect an earlier ruling in favor of Empresa Cubana of Snuff (Cubatabaco).

This decision enables Cubatabaco take the case to the panel dispute the Patent and Trademark United States.

Because of the trade embargo Washington to Havana, Cubatabaco can not distribute in the US its Cohiba cigars. However, General Cigar itself could do. The US company distributes in the US market Cohiba brand products produced in Dominican Republic for three decades.

In this case, the crux of the issue centered on whether the embargo on the island prevents the company Cubatabaco claim rights registered US marks.

In his plea, General Cigar argued that by force of US embargo on Cuba "regulation prohibits the importation of Cuban products and therefore prohibits 'the sale of Cuban cigars in the United States.'"

In addition, the company claimed, the rules of the embargo "also prohibits Cuban companies acquiring US companies registered trademark cigar."

For its part, the Cuban company said that "this decision does not threaten any protection efforts reciprocal of intellectual property in Cuba (...) in the context of sensitive and complex relationships" between that country and the United States.

Last June, a federal appeals court had already ruled in favor of Cubatabaco, arguing that Cubatabaco has legal basis for challenging patents in the United States.

General Cigar's appeal was filed to the Supreme Court on January 23, weeks after the leaders of the United States and Cuba, Barack Obama and Raul Castro, surprised the world by announcing a process of restoration of diplomatic relations.

Source: El Nuevo Herald

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