Spanish supreme court to review Havana club dispute

22 July, 2009

Bacardi has announced that the Supreme Court of Spain is to hear its appeal over trademark disputes with Pernod Ricard and the Cuban Government,  involving rights to the Havana Club rum brand.

Bacardi released the following statement:

“Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, today announced the Supreme Court of Spain has decided to hear its appeal in the case involving trademark rights to the Havana Club rum brand. The decision by the Spanish Supreme Court is a critically important and successful step in the case, as the court is highly selective in what cases it reviews.

Bacardi, Jose Arechabala, S.A. and members of the Arechabala family sued Havana Club Holding, Havana Rum and Liquors, S.A., Cubaexport, and the Republic of Cuba in 1999 in Madrid’s Court of 1st Instance No. 54 to invalidate the Cuban entities’ transfer of the registration of the Havana Club trademark in Spain from Jose Arechabala, S.A.

Bacardi owns the rights to the Havana Club rum brand, having purchased the trademark from the original legal owners, creators and proprietors of the brand. The Arechabala family created Havana Club rum in 1935 in Cuba and subsequently sold their rum in Spain and other countries. In 1959, the Arechabala’s Havana Club brand and other assets were confiscated by the Cuban government without compensation. In the early 1990s, Cuba signed an agreement with French-based Pernod Ricard to exploit the confiscated brand globally through a joint-venture called Havana Club Holding.

Bacardi looks forward to full review by the Spanish Supreme Court.”

Pernod Ricard has a joint venture with the Cuban Government for Havana Club rum.

Pernod Ricard released this statement: "The decision of the Supreme Court merely reflects that the required formalities to accept reviewing the appeal have been met, without having analyzed and considered at this stage any of the merits of the case. Furthermore, the appeal may still be rejected by the Court, apart from rejecting it on the merits of the case.

"Pernod Ricard remains confident that the Spanish Supreme Court will confirm the judgments of both the First Instance Court and the Madrid Provincial Court, whereby the claims of Bacardi and members of the Arechabala family have been entirely rejected."