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Packaging design: Bacardi wins Havana Club Rum dispute in U.S. Federal CourtPackaging design: Bacardi wins Havana Club Rum dispute in U.S. Federal Court

David Bellm

March 11, 2015

2 Min Read
Packaging design: Bacardi wins Havana Club Rum dispute in U.S. Federal Court

Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. applauded a federal court decision in favor of its packaging, marketing and ownership of HAVANA CLUB rum in the United States. For years, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. has vigorously defended its position in the wake of ongoing and inaccurate allegations by Pernod Ricard USA surrounding the re-launch of HAVANA CLUB rum in the United States.

On April 6, the Wilmington, Delaware, district court ruled that the origin of Bacardi’s HAVANA CLUB rum is geographically accurate as the bottle clearly states Puerto Rican Rum and that it is based on the original Cuban recipe as created by the family of Jose Arechabala.

“We commend the favorable decision of the court as we believe this decision is important in that it protects our ability to accurately portray the Cuban heritage and geographic origin of our rums. It confirms that our HAVANA CLUB rum has been clearly and truthfully labeled. This is yet another Court decision supporting Bacardi’s legitimate and rightful usage of the HAVANA CLUB rum trademark and brand,” said John Esposito, president and chief executive officer of Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. “As we have stated all along, consumers are very discerning and savvy and want premium spirits with authenticity and heritage. The name and packaging of Bacardi’s HAVANA CLUB conjures an image of a historical period of time, an era, a state of mind based on an elegant and vibrant night life transporting consumers back to the time it was created.”

U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson decided that Bacardi's HAVANA CLUB rum “has a Cuban heritage,” derived from a family recipe first used in Cuba around 1930. In her 22-page ruling, Judge Robinson also found that because Bacardi's labels “truthfully (and prominently)” show that its rum is “distilled and crafted in Puerto Rico,” its labeling is “neither false nor misleading.”

The Judge also recognized that Bacardi “acquired any remaining rights to Havana Club, as well as the recipe from the Arechabala family. The First Amendment protects Bacardi’s ability to accurately portray where its rum was historically made.” Judge Robinson also wrote Pernod Ricard USA showed “no evidence that today's Havana Club rum product differs from the original pre-revolutionary Cuban rum in any significant respect.”

Bacardi purchased the rights to the HAVANA CLUB trademark from the creators and original owners, the Arechabala family, who made their rum in Cuba from the 1930s until 1960 and exported it to the United States and other countries until their rum-making facilities and personal assets were seized without compensation during the Cuban revolution.

To date, Bacardi has won all U.S. court cases relating to the rights to use the HAVANA CLUB brand, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

SOURCE: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.


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