Cuban Cigars have been a hot bed of speculation, as President Obama has been trying to lift trade restrictions with the the Island South of Miami. Contrary to popular belief The United States has been a large exporter to the Caribbean nation, but many think this one way street will change.
The Problems with Cuban Cigars Even If The Ban is Lifted
If you have ever been to another country and sampled the cigars you may have noticed that some of the most popular cigars are not available abroad. This is where it starts to get a little bit messy. Due to the trade restrictions, Cuban trademarks are not recognized by the US Government. Cuban cigars are sold by a government owned company called Habanos, S.A., but back in 2000 Altadis purchased a 50% stake. Now it gets a little weird.
The original trademark holder for Romeo y Julieta was Max Rohr, Inc. Through acquisitions over the years, Romeo y Julieta is now owned by a company called Imperial Tobacco, the parent company of Altadis! Their other Cuban trademarked assets include Saint Luis Rey, Montecristo, Trinidad etc.
General Cigar, owns American trademarks to Cohiba, Punch, Hoyo de Monterey, Ramone Allones, Partagas, La Gloria Cubana, Bolivar etc.
Ashton Distributors, owns San Cristobal
The only outcome we can really predict is some attorney’s are going to be lining their pockets as this will be in litigation for years. If the case of Empresa Cubana del Tabaco v. Culbro Corp., 399 F.3d 462 (2d Cir.2005) is of any indication, a lawsuit originally filed in 2005 that has been back and forth up until 2015 for the Cohiba trademark. It will most likely be business as usually for the foreseeable future even if the trade ban is completely lifted.