Bacardi Files FOIA Request for “Havana Club” Trademark Determination
Bacardi Ltd. has reportedly filed a Freedom of Information Act request
seeking information on the renewal of a trademark registration for
“Havana Club” granted to Empresa Cubana Exportadora de Alimentos
y Productos Varios (“Cubaexport”), a Cuban government-owned entity.
Cubaexport had filed for a renewal in 2006, but the U.S. Treasury
Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) refused to grant
the license required to renew the trademark.
Cubaexport sold its rum recipe and the rights to “Havana Club” to
Bacardi in 1994, 30 years after the United States prohibited the import
of Cuban goods. Bacardi sold rum under the “Havana Club” name while
disputing the rights to the mark with Pernod Ricard, which owns the
rights to sell Havana Club worldwide. In January 2016, Cubaexport
sought to renew its trademark in “Havana Club,” arguing that it had
obtained the necessary license from OFAC, and the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office (PTO) granted the registration. Bacardi now reportedly
seeks relevant documents from the Treasury, OFAC, PTO, State
Department, Executive Office of the President and the National Security
Council. See Bloomberg BNA, February 2, 2016.