Richmond, VA (December 21, 2022) – The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) yesterday ruled in favor of Cuban-government-owned Cubatabaco in its lawsuit against Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s (STG) General Cigar Company over the trademark registrations for the COHIBA mark in the United States.
General Cigar, which manufacturers and markets the COHIBA brand in the United States, has vowed to rigorously defend its rights and immediately appeal the ruling.
Régis Broersma, president of STG’s North America and Rest of World divisions said, “Cubatabaco’s challenge to General Cigar’s ownership of the COHIBA trademark in the U.S. has no merit and this decision by the TTAB will have no impact on General Cigar’s plans to manufacture, sell, market, and enforce the COHIBA mark in the U.S. General Cigar’s trademark registrations will also remain active while the appeal is pending.”
Owen McKeon, US general counsel for STG commented, “General Cigar disagrees with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision to cancel General Cigar’s COHIBA trademark registrations and intends to appeal the Board’s decision in federal court. The TTAB’s decision was based solely on a claim that Cubatabaco improperly sought to re-litigate. Cubatabaco’s claim had been decided over a decade ago in General Cigar’s favor in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and is contrary to clear U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”
In February 2005, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled unanimously in favor of General Cigar Co., Inc. in the lawsuit filed by Cubatabaco in 1997 over the trademark ownership of the COHIBA brand in the United States. In the ruling, the Second Circuit held that “General Cigar’s legal right to the COHIBA mark has been established against Cubatabaco. General Cigar has a right to use the mark in the United States because it owns the mark in the United States.”
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