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.