COHIBA Cigars – Federal Circuit Revives Cuban Company’s Trademark Claim

In an epic, 17-year litigation against a leading U.S. cigar company, we have succeeded in reviving the long-standing claim of Cubatabaco, the Cuban cigar company, to the U.S. trademark rights to COHIBA, the world’s most famous cigar brand.

On June 4, 2014, the United State Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (“TTAB”) dismissing the Cuban company’s petition to cancel General Cigar’s registrations of the COHIBA trademark. The Federal Circuit instructed the TTAB to determine on their merits each of Cubatabaco’s grounds for cancellation, which would clear the path for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to grant Cubatabaco’s pending application to register COHIBA.

COHIBA is Cuba’s flagship cigar brand, and is generally considered the finest and most coveted premium cigar in the world.

The claims that Cubatabaco is now able to pursue will not only determine ownership of the U.S. rights to the COHIBA trademark, but also raise issues of great importance in U.S. and international trademark law generally.

A copy of the Federal Circuit’s opinion is posted here.

The history of the 17 year litigation, and a synopsis of the legal issues, is presented here.