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Cuba accuses U.S. of backing illegal use of cigar trademark


Cuba has accused the United States of backing the "outright theft" of a Cuban cigar trademark as part of its 50-year embargo against the Caribbean island, the official website Cubadebate said Monday.

The accusation was filed after a U.S. federal commission ruled last week that the U.S. company General Cigar can continue to use the Cohiba brand name to market its cigars in the United States.

"It is the most recent verdict in an almost 16-year legal battle between both cigar companies over that brand, which belongs to Cuba," Cubadebate said.

In 2009, Cuba's state-owned cigar maker Cubatabaco, a partner with the French-Spanish firm Altadis, won a lawsuit against the U.S. company for using the Cohiba brand inside the United States, but General Cigar appealed against that ruling.

The U.S. Trials and Appeals Committee on Trademarks ruled that since Cubatabaco cannot sell its cigars in the United States due to the U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba, the Cuban firm cannot litigate its case there, Cubadebate reported.