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Cuba vs. General Cigar

Everyone has heard of Cohiba cigars. The popular Cohiba brand has been sold in the United States since 1981 by General Cigar, based in Richmond, Virginia. Recently Cuba has accused the United States of allowing companies to steal the name Cohiba.

Cuba created Cohibas in the 1960s but the name has been picked up and is being sold in the United States, something Cuba sees as thievery.  The interesting thing is that General Cigar’s “Cohibas” are manufactured in the Dominican Republic, and have absolutely no relation to the original Cuban made Cohiba cigars.

Earlier this month the United States Trademark Trial and Appeals Board stated that General  was able to sell its Dominican made Cohibas in the United States, overruling a lawsuit that the Cuban government had previously won against General Cigars in the U.S. courts.

Because Cuba has no legal status in the United States the lawsuit was overruled, meaning Cuba cannot claim ownership on the Cohiba brand. Since the Cuban trade embargo prevents Cuba from doing business in the United States, the court decision should remain in effect over the years.