14ymedio (with information from agencies), Havana, 1 February 2016 — The Bacardi company has asked for explanations from the United States government regarding the authorization to sell Havana Club rum in the country once the embargo is lifted, claiming that this January’s granting of the trademark rights to the Cuban government is “illegal.”
The company, based in Bermuda, directed a request with regards to the renewal of the trademark to the Treasury Department, and in a statement on Monday, accused it of violating “the language and spirit of US law.”
Eduardo Sanchez, Bacardi’s legal advisor, said “Americans deserve to know the truth of this sudden and unprecedented decision taken by Washington that reversed an international policy that protects against the acceptance of confiscations by foreign governments.”
The legal battle over the rights to market Havana Club rum came to an end last month after two decades of disputes, when the Patent and Trademark Office ruled that the Cuban state company Cubaexport is the lawful distributor of the iconic rum.
In 2006, Cubaexport tried to obtain a license from the Treasury Department’s Office of Control of Foreign Assets (OFAC) to pay $500 to renew the Havana Club trademark, but it failed to do so and its registration was declared invalid. The Cuban company had not given up and re-initiated its request earlier this year and was successful.