Bacardi seething after Havana Club ruling
18th January, 2016 by Neal Baker
The US government has been accused by Bacardi of turning its back on its own laws following a ruling that granted the Havana Club trademark to Pernod Ricard.
Bacardi has been selling Havana Club in the US since 1994, while the brand has been sold elsewhere by Pernod Ricard. Last week’s ruling sees the US rights granted to Pernod (Photo: Wiki)
In a damning statement, Bacardi said that the decision by the US authorities to give Pernod Ricard the right to sell Cuban-made Havana Club rum in the States amounted to “confiscation without compensation”.
Sources claim that the ruling could cost Bacardi around 4,000,000 case sales per year.
In 1994 Bacardi purchased the rights to sell Havana Club in the US from the brand’s founding family, who had fled Cuba in the 1960s after the brand was seized by their country’s government.
Since then Bacardi has been selling rum made in Puerto Rico under the Havana Club name in the US due to the long-standing embargo on Cuban goods.
Meanwhile, Havana Club rum produced in Cuba has been sold in other markets by a joint venture between Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government named Cubaexport.
However, following a thaw in relations between the US and Cuba, last week’s ruling by the US Foreign Assets Control Office has given the rights to sell the brand in the States to the Pernod/Cuban partnership.
“We are committed to defending the fundamental rights against confiscations without compensation,” Bacardi said.
“We support both legislation and legal action upholding the principle of protection of trademarks and ensuring trademarks that have been illegally confiscated by the Cuban government without consent of their rightful owners not be recognised by the international community.”
The ruling could lead to a long and fraught legal battle between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard once the US’s trade embargo with Cuba is lifted.