This Is This End ... My Only Friend The End ...

This is now officially the old Cigar Law page (www.cigarlaw.blogspot.com).  If you bookmarked www.cigarlaw.blogspot.com and you are looking for new material go to www.cigarlaw.com or www.cigarlaw.wordpress.com.   This page will remain active to archive old posts until I figure out how to incorporate all into Wordpress.  

Say good bye to nasty crashes ....

Thanks to "Electric Sheep"

My thanks go out to "Electric Sheep" the gentleman in the BOTL.org forum that first congratulated me on the content of this site and then destroyed my blog from a technical standpoint. He is absoutely correct. The tech specs of this blog suck. I believe that it crashes less these days, and I appreciate the folks that keep coming back for more. Here's my official excuse: (1) I never thought folks would read this blog ... apparently, many do; (2) I have a full time job as an attorney; (3) I have two kids; (4) I have a girlfriend; (5) I travel a lot for work; (6) I have a cigar brand coming out that I've been working on; and finally .... (6) .... I have a freakin' busy life. It's a miracle that I post anything at all on this thing ... so give me a f'ng break about the technical suckiness of this blog.

Content is king ... the rest is just bling ... -FH

What's 50% of Corporacion Habanos, S.A. Worth Today, 10 Years later ....?

From Bloomberg News 10 Years Ago ....


Altadis to Buy 50% of Cuba's Corporacion Habanos for $500 Mln

Madrid, Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Altadis SA, the world's biggest cigar maker, said it would spend $500 million to buy 50 percent of Corporacion Habanos, makers of some of Cuba's best- known cigars, including Cohiba and Montecristo.

Altadis, to be formed by the merger of Spain's and France's biggest tobacco companies, said the price of the purchase could be revised after it reviews the company's financial situation.

Corporacion Habanos was created in 1994 to regroup and sell the major Cuban cigar brands.

Tabacalera SA bought France's Seita SA to former Western Europe's third-largest cigarette company and exploit their dominant position in cigars. The combined company already controls about 25 percent of the world's market for cigars.

The new company is expected to begin trading in both France and Spain tomorrow.

Dec/09/1999 11:59

(C) Copyright 1999 Bloomberg L.P.

CAO's Trademark Registration

CAO's Trademark Registration
Registration No. 3,558,818

Cigar Law on Dog Watch Cigar Radio

The good folks at Dog Watch Cigar Radio interviewed Cigar Law again on the dispute between Indonesia and the recent US legislation banning clove cigarettes. Check it out here:

http://podcast.com/episode/40499433/32704/

Vintagecigars.com

A loyal reader notified me that he owns www.vintagecigars.com and is interested in selling the domain. If you are interested, please email me at bloom@cigarlaw.com.

Not Cigar Related But ...

Kardashian Reebok Photo Shoot and After Party

My buddy Marc Serota invited me to this shoot, but I had to leave L.A. early, so I missed this opportunity ...

Cigar Law Back on Dog Watch Cigar Radio

The good folks at Dog Watch Cigar Radio (www.dogwatchcigarradio.com) have asked me back onto their show to discuss the clove/menthol issue that is hot now. Readers may be aware that the recent legislation passed by Congress bans clove cigarettes in the United States but not menthol cigarettes. Indonesia is not happy about this since it exports 99 percent of its clove cigarettes to the United States (see here).

Indonesia is threatening to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization on the U.S.'s disparate treatment of cloves vs. menthol flavored cigarettes.

This is not really a cigar issue, but it's only a matter of time before legislatures start doodling around the cigar industry with similar bullshit legislation.

TTAB Issues Notice of Default to United Tobacco Distributors

In Mike's Cigars Distributors, Inc. v. United Tobacco Distributors, Inc., Opposition No. 91188995 regarding Mike's Cigar's Opposition to United's application for "CUBAO," the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently issued a Notice of Default. Apparently, United had until June 5, 2009 to file an Answer to the Opposition, but did not do so. The Notice of Default now gives United 30 days from June 20, 2009 to file its Answer. Sometimes an applicant will default on purpose rather than fight, sometimes they never get notice of the opposition proceeding because an old address is on file, etc... In any event, if they intend to fight this one, they should file a response to the Notice of Default soon.

My Homeboy Marc Serota in Beverly Hills

My Homeboy Marc Serota in Beverly Hills
On Set Shooting Kim Kardashian for Reebok Ad

Mid-Afternoon Viewing Pleasure ...

Corporacion Habanos' Consent Agreement with Empresa Cubana Del Tabaco

The United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected Corporacion Habanos' application for tradedmark registration of "EDMUNDO DANTES" for certain goods. In response, Corporacion Habanos got Empresa Cubana Del Tabaco to sign a consent agreement in Cuba. See it here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16519139/Consent-Edmundo-Dantes

Of counsel for Corporacion Habanos provided the translation (and most likely drafted the agreement) since they represent both entities.

Let's revisit this again ... two Cuban entities, from a country that CAN NOT legally offer and sell goods in the United States, can agree and consent (pursuant to US law) that there is no likelihood of confusion in the United States between their trademarks for their respective goods. Thus, they can both register "EDUMUNDO DANTES" with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Hmmmm.... The United States policy on allowing Cuba and Cuban entities to register their trademarks (and oppose United States trademarks) is RIDICULOUS, NONSENSICAL, and downright unAmerican. Seriously, think about this. Two companies, both of which can not do business in the United States are agreeing that there will be no likelihood of confusion between their respective marks as applied on goods that ARE NOT AVAILABLE for sale (legally) in the United States. Of course there is no likelihood of confusion, because the United States consumers can't be confused about the source of products that are not for sale in the United States.

Please stop me ....

NUB Files Motion for Default Against Cigarmony

Readers of Cigar Law might recall that Oliva Cigar Co. filed an Opposition Proceeding against the trademark application for "NUBBER" as filed by Cigarmony, LLC. Apparently, Cigarmony did not file a response in the appropriate time, and as such, Oliva recently filed a Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board will most likely give Cigarmony the opportunity to wake up and answer, if it so chooses. If no answer is filed, then the application will be denied.

Thanks Pacific Cigar Co.

The good folks at Pacific Cigar sent me the following from their ANDRETTI line of cigars:

The Commendatore
El Capitan
and a Toro

Haven't smoked 'em yet, but looking forward to it.  

Hint hint to readers, I really, really, really encourage unsolicited gifts of cigars and accessories.  

Smoking Hot Cigar Chick.com

The Smoking Hot Cigar Chick

While she was not formally nominated as one of the "Hottest Women in the Cigar Industry," the Smoking Hot Cigar Chick gets an honorable mention.  

Editors Note: Don't care for the reference to the Cuban Cohiba trade dress on her blog header, but oh well....

Coffee Wars - "CUBITA"

Corporacion CIMEX, S.A. (an entity of Cuba) finds itself on the defensive these days.  As reported here earlier, it's application for "CUBITA CAFE CUBANO CUBAN COFFEE MOLIDO GROUND" was opposed by Ruta Maya Royalty, LTD. which claims a first use date of the trademark "CUBITA" since March 1, 1994.  CIMEX has just filed its answer to the opposition proceeding. Read it here: 
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16439788/Cimex-Cubita-Answer

What's interesting is CIMEX has set forth Affirmative Defenses which are consistent with Corporacion Habanos' claims and defenses in the various Cigar Wars (HAVANA CLUB, GUANTANAMERA, etc...).  

Altadis USA Files Motion for Ext. of Time to Oppose "CENTARIO"

A few days ago, Altadis USA filed a motion for extension of time to oppose the trademark application for "CENTARIO" as filed by Tropical Tobacco, Inc.  

Tropical Tobacco is no stranger to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings.  Over the years it has fought over "CERBERUS" against Avalon; "COPACABANA" against Apoc Restaurant; "MONTE VERDE" against Cuban Cigar Brands, N.V.; "EL PINARENO" against Habana Tobaco Trading, Inc.; "CACIQUE" against Cacique, Inc.; "FROM SEED TO ASH" against Davidoff of Geneva; and "MONTE CANARIO" against Culbro Corp.  

They've been succesful at some.  

Thanks to UK Solicitor Peter Groves for the Link

Special shoutout to Solicitor Peter Groves for linking to www.cigarlaw.com on his blog http://ipso-jure.blogspot.com/

I met Peter in Seattle a few weeks ago at the International Trademark Association Annual Conference.  If you ever have any trademark legal needs in the UK, he's your man.  

Thanks again Peter. 

Cigar Fight

Like many of you, I'm always thinking up new domain names to purchase for fun and profit.  Since there is a great website called domainfight.com which allows users to search for domain disputes, I thought www.cigarfight.com would be a good name for cigarlaw.com related disputes.  When I researched the name, I found that Famous Smoke Shop registered the name about three months ago.   It appears that Famous is using the domain to drive traffic to its site and to capitalize on the widely publicized and upcoming fights between Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars and Tim "The Clipper" Carr of Famous Smoke Shop.  

Famous Smoke Shop continues to impress me with their marketing efforts.  

Thanks for the link on CHARONQC.WORDPRESS.COM

Big shout out to the gentleman behind www.charonqc.wordpress.com for adding a link to my site.  Really appreciate the love, and dig your blog. 

Bidwell Cigar Co. Expressly Abandons CALLE OCHO

Bidwell Cigar Co. filed a trademark application for "CALLE OCHO" for use in
connection with cigars. Cigars International, Inc. filed an Opposition Proceeding
claiming that it had common law rights in "CALLE OCHO" as used in connection
with cigars, cigar humidors, and cigar ashtrays since 2002.
An Answer was filed, then a few extensions of time of the trial dates. The
record is silent as to the terms, but it appears that the parties settled. As
part of that settlement, Bidwell aparently agreed to expressly abandon its
trademark application for "CALLE OCHO".

Um, has anyone considered the fact that "CALLE OCHO" is geographically
descriptive of cigars, if those cigars come from CALLE OCHO, or geographically
deceptively misdescriptive if those cigars don't come from CALLE OCHO?
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16255566/Calle-Ocho-Abandonment

PATRON Tequila Files Opposition Against PADRON for Coffee etc.

A few weeks ago I posted that PATRON Spirits Int'l filed a request for an extension of time to oppose Piloto Cigars, Inc.'s application for "PADRON" as applied for coffee. Apparently, the matter did not settle because the opposition to the trademark application has been filed. Interesting note: the attorneys for PATRON are the same attorneys for Pete Johnson's TATUAJE opposition/dispute with TATTOO (Nicaragua Imports) See
http://www.scribd.com/doc/16217382/Opp-Patron-v-Padron

What Trademark Lawyers Do In Their Free Time ...Click Image

TORPEDO ALE

TORPEDO v. IMPACT TORPEDO

The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (makers of my favorite beer) and owners of the trademark registration for "TORPEDO" for use in connection with "ale" filed an opposition proceeding (no. 91189820) against the trademark application for "IMPACT TORPEDO" for use in connection with "dietary supplements" and "energy drinks" filed by Allied Tobacco Consulting and Distribution, Inc.  

The term torpedo is descriptive in the cigar world, but take one step out into the beverage world, and watch out.  

Wow! Drew Estate Voluntarily Surrenders 5 year old Registration for "LA VIEJA HABANA"

Surprisingly, Drew Estate has voluntarily surrendered its five year old federal trademark registration for "LA VIEJA HABANA" recently. I'm dumbfounded why Drew Estate would do this. Voluntary Surrender of TM Registration LA VIEJA HABANA

Hottest Women In Cigar Industry

Hottest Women In Cigar Industry
Lindsay Heller Tobacconist at NAT SHERMAN

Nat Sherman Tobacconist Lindsay Heller ... in her own words ...

Although I obeyed the law in waiting until I was eighteen years old, I had always had this desire to smoke cigars after witnessing my grandfather enjoy them throughout my entire young life.  Like many people I help everyday, at first I knew relatively little about tobacco outside of some historical and geographic facts, but as is the custom with me, if I enjoy something I always have to try and learn as much as possible about it.

            I was a consumer and student for nearly six years learning, trying, and asking questions before I made the leap from customer (and apprentice of sorts) to becoming an actual tobacconist. I am now New York City’s only female tobacconist and one of the younger individuals in the business. My passion & knowledge of food and wine has blessed me with a sensitive palate, therefore being able to educate all my customers comes with ease. I’m so fortunate to be part of the extended Nat Sherman family, where day-after-day I get to come in contact with celebrity cigar enthusiasts to the “average joe,” and it brings me so much joy to help impart some knowledge onto them. I understand that walking into tobacco shops can be somewhat intimidating when a customer realizes how complex smoking can be and that it really is an art form, but I like to think people like me exist to share enthusiasm and experience so that each and every time that customer leaves totally satisfied.

            From hosting events, classes, and even personally tailored in-store appointments, I love watching cigar smokers get excited about the perfect stick.  Despite all of the anti-smoking hysteria and rather unjust laws, I enjoy being part of a company that provides those wishing to enjoy tobacco an oasis in the middle of an urban jungle. I have been so fortunate to become friends with many of the names/brands we all know, and each time we chat we pass our musings onto you.

            I keep looking to the future and all I see is a lifetime of great memories with equally great cigars.  As for what’s next for New York City’s professed “Cigar Chick,” all I can say is you will continue to see me everywhere.  I am now taking time to learn about another side to the business, so all I will say is that consider all of this at just the tip of the preverbal iceberg.

Cigar Law Interview on Dog Watch Cigar Radio

check out the full length interview here http://podcast.com/show/32704/

Thanks again to the good folks at www.dogwatchcigarradio.com for the interview. All the best.

30 Year Trademark Filings with "CIGARS" as listed Goods

Below is a chart that I created from data obtained from the USPTO website. It is highly unscientific and only reflects trademark applications filed (and not necessarily registered) which contain "cigars" as a good. While it is not perfect it is a good measuring stick to track the cigar industry. 30 Tm Filings

Great Event for A Great Woman

Great Event for A Great Woman
Please Attend and Support If You Can

Great Interview of Jorge Armenteros of Tobaccionist University on Dog Watch Cigar Radio

Cuban Cigars Advertised in Smoke Magazine?

Cuba continues to advertise its cigars in United States magazines. Namely, this latest ad was found in Smoke Magazine. Montecristo Ad in Smoke

Paul Donovan with Elle McPherson

Elle McPherson with Lucky Trademark Attorney

A few days ago I posted that I missed my opportunity to personally meet Elle McPherson at last week's INTA.org event in Seattle.

I received an email today from Canadian trademark attorney Paul W. Donovan with the above photo. Gee thanks Paul. Way to rub it in.

Camacho's PURO MADURO

Camacho's PURO MADURO
Specimen of Use

Camacho Cigars Appeals PTO's Denial of Trademark Registration for "PURO MADURO"

Strangely, Camacho Cigars refused to accept the translation offered by the PTO arguing that the term "PURO" has several translations.  In any event, the phrase "PURO MADURO" was placed on the Supplemental Register. 

There is no disclaimer in the record for the term "MADURO" even though the goods listed in the application covers "cigars containing maduro wrappers."  

In any event, what good does this Supplemental Registration do for Camacho? Seriously, try enforcing a "trademark" which translates as "cigars containing maduro wrappers."  

Sorry Camacho, but your attorneys' fees are best spent fighting other trademarks. 

Smoke Magazine and www.solocigars.com Get the Gas Face

At home listening to Hip Hop Classics on cable and what do I hear? 3rd Base and their classic "Gas Face." I forgot about this classic song. At the same time, I am flipping through the Spring issue of Smoke Magazine. What do I find? Yet another advertisement by or about "Habanos" the Cuban cigar entity. This particular advertisement appears to be a co-op ad with http://www.solocigars.com. The advertisement boldly states "Habanos Specialist Cuban Cigar Store" and "Worldwide Delivery Guaranteed." It follows that a US Toll Free number is also made available. So, it appears that if you want Cuban cigars you can visit http://www.solocigars.com or call their toll free number. Right there in black and white, world wide delivery guaranteed. Hate to sound like a ninny, but isn't there something like an embargo that makes it illegal for US citizens/residents to purchase Cuban cigars? I'm no idiot. I know that Cuban cigars (or cigars purporting to be Cuban) have been available for purchase on line for years. But, a full page ad in Smoke Magazine? This magazine is published by Lockwood Publications, Inc. located in New York.

I've asked this question before .... why advertise goods that are not legally available in the US? The end is near? Is Smoke Magazine, http://www.solocigars.com and/or Habanos (or others) preparing the US consumer for the imminent arrival of real Cubans?

In any event, Smoke Magazine and http://www.solocigars.com get the Gas Face for the most blatant snub at the US Government's Embargo against Cuban goods. Whether you believe the Embargo is a good idea or not, it's currently the law.

By the way, the model is out of control hot. She also appears on www.solocigars.com. However, she is clearly not Cuban (either of the island or in exile). I just know these things. (picture to follow).

Cigar Event During INTA Meeting in Seattle

Cigar Event During INTA Meeting in Seattle
Super Secret Location to Avoid the Seattle Non-Smoking Coalition

Meet the Bloggers Event in Seattle

Meet the Bloggers Event in Seattle
Cigar Law at the Top of Stairs ...

Meet the Bloggers Event in Seattle

Thanks to Michael Atkins of Graham & Dunn for hosting last night's Meet the Bloggers Event. The offices of Graham & Dunn are truly inspiring. Great views and great people made for a great night.

It was truly an honor to be photographed alongside such long time trademark bloggers as John Welch of www.ttablog.com and Martin Schwimmer of The Trademark Blog.

Cigar Law in Seattle, Love the City, But No Place to Smoke

I'm in Seattle this week attending the International Trademark Association's Annual Meeting. Last night the lovely Elle Macpherson gave the keynote speech. She made a brief appearance at the reception thereafter. I tried to profess my love to her, but alas, a squadron of grey haired counsel from White Shoe firms monopolized her attention. Next time, Elle. If you're reading, I'm staying at the Sheraton under an assumed name.

In any event, tonight cigarlaw will be attending the Fifth Annual "Meet the Bloggers" event. Thereafter, off to a small gathering of cigar loving trademark attorneys.

Big Thanks and Shout Out to DogWatch Cigar Radio

Big thanks in advance to my friends at DogWatch Cigar Radio. They've asked me on to their show to talk about, what else, cigar law.  

Look for a lively discussion about cigar law on www.dogwatchcigarradio.com late next week.  

Mea Cuba (Culpa)

Apologies to the loyal readers, but a little thing called work related travel has gotten in the way of my regular posts. Don't fear, there's more cigar law coming soon. Stay tuned. In meantime, check out some other great blogs and sites on cigars.

New Case on Section 2(e)(3) Geographically Deceptively Misdescriptive Trademarks

While this is not a cigar case (it's about vodka) the case is significant in the cigar industry because Corporacion Habanos has been using Section 2(e)(3) of the Lanham Act to kill trademark applications. For those of you not in the know, Section 2(e)(3) of the Lanham Act bars the registration of trademarks if they are "geographically deceptively misdescriptive" of the goods/services for which the are applied. Enjoy .... In Re Spirits

CUBITA v. CUBITA CAFE CUBANO CUBAN COFFEE MOLIDO GROUND

Opposition filed against a Cuban entity, finally. Seems that Cuba is getting a taste of its own medicine now. Check out the world's shortest Notice of Opposition. Cubita Opp

Patron Spirits Int'l AG v. Piloto Cigars, Inc. "PADRON"

The tequila giant has filed two requests for extensions of time to oppose "PADRON" for use in connection with rum and "PADRON" for use in connection with coffee.  Yes, Piloto Cigars, Inc. is the owner of the famous PADRON cigar brand.  

Life is Tough for Miami Beach Smokers

1919 Opinion re "LA FLOR DE LA ISABELLA"

Trademark disputes in the cigar industry are nothing new. Check out this opinion from 1919 regarding a dispute between a Spanish company and a Philippine company. Also, for the record the USPTO reveals that the "LA FLOR DE LA ISABELA" trademark was filed in 1996 by a Philippine company but later abandoned. Some good trademarks never go out of fashion. Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas

NUB v. NUBBER; Opposition Filed

CUBITA v. CUBITA CAFE CUBANO CUBAN COFFEE MOLIDO GROUND

Ruta Maya Royalty, LTD the owners of trademark application for "CUBITA" for use in connection with coffee (claiming first use since 1994) has filed an extension of time to oppose the trademark application for "CUBITA CAFE CUBANO CUBAN COFFEE MOLIDO GROUND" filed by Corporacion CIMEX, S.A. (Cuban entity).

I know that this is not a cigar trademark dispute, but it is relevant to this blog in so much as the Cuban entity is represented by the law firm of RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD, KRINKSY & LIEBERMAN, P.C. This law firm represents (and has since the early days of the embargo) Cuba in its legal issues in the United States.

Readers may find interesting that the title of the biography of the founder of the firm, Victor Rabinowitz, is "Unrepentant Leftist: A Lawyer's Memoir".

SILK DRAGON CIGARS

SILK DRAGON CIGARS
Specimen of Use Filed With Application

DRAGON

DRAGON
Specimen of Use of Opposer

DRAGON v. SILK DRAGON - Notice of Opposition

ENTER THE DRAGONS .... Silk Dragon Opp

MAGNATE CIGARS of Miami

MAGNATE CIGARS of Miami

Miami's Magnate Files Request for Ext Time to File Opposition

Miami's Magnate Cigars recently filed a request for extension of time to oppose an application for "MAGNATES" for:

Tobacco products, accessories, and smoking articles, namely, cigars, rolling papers for cigarettes and cigars made out of paper, rolling papers for cigarettes and cigars made out of tobacco, rolling papers for cigarettes and cigars made out of cellulose, rolling tobacco for cigarettes and cigars, pre-rolled tobacco shells, tobacco sheets, smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, roll your own tobacco, and cigarette papers.

The application was filed by Durfort Holdings, S.A.

Track the Florida Bill - More Taxes on Cigars

Cuba's Trademark Applications/Registrations Subject to Attack for Illusory "Intent-to-Use"?

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB") recently entered an order which generally calls into question whether a foreign applicant of a US federal trademark has a real "intent-to-use" basis to file a trademark application. This is a highly technical issue, but it may have reprocussions for future attack on Cuba's (and Cuban entities') trademark applications and registrations which were based on Section 44(d) and 66(a) (provision in law that allows for federal trademark applciations by foreign applications based on an "intent-to-use" the applied for trademark in the US in the future.) See
http://thettablog.blogspot.com/2009/04/precedential-no-15-finding-no-evidence.html

Question: Can Cuba or Cuban entities have a "bona fide intent-to-use" a trademark in the US when that "intent" is illusory. The embargo has lasted for over 40 years, it could last another 40 years (arguably). If there is no present ability to exploit a trademark in association with particular goods/services, then how can there be a "bona fide intent-to-use."

In an unrelated legal matter, at least one court, namely, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, refused an action by General Cigar because the alleged threat by a Cuban entity was too speculative in so much as the end of embargo was unclear. I'll track down that opinion and share here when I can.

The point is that Cuba and Cuban entities can not have a "bona fide intent-to-use" a trademark in the US if they have no present idea of when, or even the present capability, to commercialize the trademark in the US. Let's leave Section 44(d) and 66(a) trademark filing basis for foreign entities that actually do have a present bona fide intent-to-use the trademark in the US.

Drew Estate's 2004 Fight Between "LA VIEJA HABANA" and "LA VIEJA CUBANA"

A few days ago I posted Drew Estate's Answer to Corporacion Habanos' Cancellation Proceeding of "LA VIEJA HABANA". Below is Drew Estate's 2004 Opposition to another entity's attempt to register "LA VIEJA CUBANA". Drews 2004 Opposition to LA VIEJA CUBANA

Drew Estate's LA VIEJA HABANA

Drew Estate's LA VIEJA HABANA
Trademark Was Registered December 2003

Drew Estate's Answer to Corporacion Habanos' Cancellation Action "LA VIEJA HABANA"

Drew Estate obtained a federal registration for "LA VIEJA HABANA" on December 23, 2003. Five days before the registration was eligible to become "incontestable" Corporacion Habanos filed a Petition to Cancel the trademark. How convenient. By way of background, after a trademark has been registered for five years it is eligible to become "incontestable" if the owner of the trademark files the appropriate affidavits. Had Corporacion Habanos not filed this action, and had Drew Estate filed its Section 8 and 15 affidavits, it would have been nearly impossible for Corporacion Habanos to attack this trademark registration. After some stipulated extensions of time, it appears that this action moves forward with Drew Estate's recent filing of its answer to Corporacion Habanos' Petition for Cancellation of the registration for "LA VIEJA HABANA". Below is the recent answer ... compare with the original Petition for cancellation here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/11467792/Corporacion-Habanos-v-Drew-Estate-LA-VIEJA-HAVANA Ttabvue-92050354-Can-11 Drew Estate Answer to La Vieja Habana Action

Havana 1959 Cigars in Miami Lakes

Havana 1959 Cigars in Miami Lakes
Kick ass place to play dominoes

Cigar Law - Night at Havana 1959 Cigar Shop in Miami Lakes

Thanks to the owners of Havana 1959 Cigar Shop in Miami Lakes, Florida. Cigar Law and friends showed up for some drinks and dominoes and had a great time. Be sure to stop by this place on a Friday or Saturday night when you come to Miami.


Thanks Cigar Inspector

Thanks to www.cigarinspector.com for the shout out about Cigarlaw.com. We appeciate the love...

Puff.com

Puff.com
Somewhere in Sonoma

Puff.com Article - Indications of Origin

Puff.com was kind enough to post an article I wrote recently.

Friday, 10 April 2009
I am sitting at Gate 44 at the San Francisco airport waiting for my return flight to Miami. I spent the last few days at a trademark and internet law conference attended by ...See Full Article Here

Hottest Women in Cigar Industry: Annia Vazquez and Chistrian Forcade of Forcade Cigars

Annia Vazquezand her sister Chistrian Forcade provided Cigarlaw.com with this great write up about the history of Forcade Cigars

Our roots with tobacco expand from five generations back when our great-grandfather, Thomas Novales, migrated from Palma de Mallorca, Spain to Cabeza-Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 1887. His cultivation of tobacco was located at La Vega kilometer 26 ½ Carretera Luis Lazo, Pinar del Rio, where he passed his knowledge and dedication of tobacco cultivation to his four sons; one of which was our great-grandfather, Thomas Novales Jr., born in 1917.


Our great-grandfather continued the tradition to his seven children. The tobacco agriculture was part of growing up for our grandmother, Bienvenida Elena Novales, and her brothers and sisters. The four boys were in charge of maintaining the fields and the three girls would handle making of each tobacco with perfection. The Forcade family was a French family that also migrated to Cuba and were close friends with the Novales. Having their children growing up together as a family, Bienvenida Elena Novales and Manolo Forcade were brought up in the manufacturing and cultivation of cigars.


As time passed, both having their own descendants, Bienvenida gave birth to Araceli Gonzalez, our mother, and Manolo had his son, Manolo Forcade Jr. Their children fell in love during their adolescence and together were able to continue the company that their ancestors had created, assuring the maintenance of the quality and freshness of a fine cigar.


The company is named after the Forcade family in memory of Manolo Forcade whom died at sea trying to pursue the dream of continuing the tradition in America and leaving from the communism of Castro. Araceli, our mother, wife at that time of Manolo had Chistrian Forcade, and then remarried having Annia Vazquez, creators of the new highly experienced Forcade and Son Cigar Company. In modern day today, the generation of this family history is still passionately cultivating in Pinar del Rio, Cuba what their ancestors passed down from generation to generation. The adoration and desire for a first-class cigar is the goal and living dream of the Forcade & Son Cigar Company.

Forcade Cigars produces "GIRALDA" brand cigars made by Don Pepin Garcia in Nicaragua under the Garcia Family Tabacalera.

Hottest Women in Cigar Industry: Amber Lee of Famous Smoke Shop

This selection for "Hottest Women in the Cigar Industry goes to:

Amber Lee, Advertising Assistant for Famous Smoke Shop in Pennsylvania.

This is definitely one of the hardest working women in the cigar industry. Through her online efforts in the world of Twitter, Facebook, and most likely other online communities, the world has been introduced to Famous Smoke Shop. And for those already familiar with Famous Smoke Shop, she provides a friendly and knowledgeable face to the company.

In her own words, Amber describes her job as working in the “marketing department of the world's best cigar retailer - Famous Smoke Shop! I'm basically the marketing team's dominatrix, meaning that I crack the whip to make sure that our writers and designers accomplish everything on their plates. They act like they don't like it, but I know they do. LOL”

Cigar Law learned about Amber through here ubiquitous Twitter and Facebook updates where she keeps us up to date on her local traffic, cigars that she is currently smoking, and music she enjoys. Her efforts are a perfect example how companies are now using the power of social networking to put a friendly face on their products and services and building goodwill in a non-traditional way.

Amber is not simply a person in the marketing department that is touting her company’s product and services, but rather is someone that actually enjoys the products she is marketing. In her own words, “I've been smoking cigars for a few years. I started out with mild and flavored cigars, but now prefer traditional, medium to full-bodied smokes. Some of my favorites are Famous Private Selection Nicaraguan Corojo, Rocky Patel Vintage '92, and pretty much anything by Don Pepin Garcia.”

Here’s a shout out to Amber Lee of Famous Smoke Shop, a wired/Internet savvy, cigar smoking, smart and friendly face for the cigar industry.

`FD > "20090000" and "cigars"[gs] WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

This is the code that you enter into the USPTO.GOV website's TESS search system in order to find out how many trademarks have been filed since January 1, 2009 to date which include "cigars" as part of their goods and services.

By doing so, I retrieved 158 hits, which include the following first 100 hits:


Serial NumberReg. NumberWord MarkCheck StatusLive/Dead
179065546DUNHILL SINCE 1907TARRLIVE
277706545BORED TO DEATHTARRLIVE
377706096NATIVE PRIDETARRLIVE
477705534NATIVETARRLIVE
577705434SIX NATIONS MANUFACTURINGTARRLIVE
677705117GOLD COIN 1 LONDONTARRLIVE
777704229DOMINUSTARRLIVE
877703120PICKWICKTARRLIVE
977702295GOD OF FIRETARRLIVE
1077702238PEACH TREESTARRLIVE
1177702228BLU MAGICTARRLIVE
1277701503WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BOW TIETARRLIVE
1377698996ROYAL BLUNTS PLAYERS CHOICETARRLIVE
1477692927BACKGAMMONTARRLIVE
1577647173DTARRLIVE
1677699985ALIANZATARRLIVE
1777699950WHERE TRADITION MEETS FLAVORTARRLIVE
1877699834PEREZ-CARRILLOTARRLIVE
1977699073XXL 2TARRLIVE
2077698745VINNETTARRLIVE
2177698717AFTER 5TARRLIVE
2277672508ENJOY BLACK & MILDTARRLIVE
23776535616 GENERATIONSTARRLIVE
2477652198SEMINOLETARRLIVE
2577646502MIDDLETON'S BLACK & MILD WOOD TIP SINCE 1856 PULLTARRLIVE
2677646500MIDDLETON'S BLACK & MILD WOOD TIP SINCE 1856 PULLTARRLIVE
2777646496TARRLIVE
2877646492TARRLIVE
2977646481MIDDLETON'S BLACK & MILD WOOD TIP PIPE-TOBACCO CIGARSTARRLIVE
3077646474MIDDLETON'S BLACK & MILD WOOD TIP PIPE-TOBACCO CIGARSTARRLIVE
3177697782QUESADATARRLIVE
3277696570CUBANACANTARRLIVE
3377696175THE NEW WAY TO SMOKE...SMOKE FREE.TARRLIVE
34776956751974TARRLIVE
3577663306TRIVOTARRLIVE
3677657180PANCHO ARANGOTARRLIVE
3777647331PYCNOGENOLTARRLIVE
3877689242NATIVE PRIDETARRLIVE
3977689213PRIDETARRLIVE
4077693327AFTER 5TARRLIVE
4177693316VINNETTARRLIVE
4277646903VOODOOTARRLIVE
4377645563NATIVETARRLIVE
4477642816EZ SLICETARRLIVE
4577694105SENEKATARRLIVE
4677694059GATORTARRLIVE
4777693879YUMATARRLIVE
4877693119GREENNICOTINETARRLIVE
4977693051BRUGALTARRLIVE
5077692850JOSE BLANCOTARRLIVE
5177692523PRETORIAN HARD SPORTSTARRLIVE
5277692250CIGOTINETARRLIVE
5377691770BARRINGTONTARRLIVE
5477691584NOBLETARRLIVE
5577691578ACTIONTARRLIVE
5677644955SOUTHERN BY THE GRACE OF GODTARRLIVE
5777643504ESCAPETARRLIVE
5877686970TORTUGATARRLIVE
5977642874BRACKETOLOGYTARRLIVE
6077682229LA CARIDAD DEL COBRE 1608 HAND MADETARRLIVE
6177656485BELLA TORRESTARRLIVE
6277690279FLOR DE GERARDTARRLIVE
6377690151PIPER'S HAVENTARRLIVE
6477690020VARTANTARRLIVE
6577689513INDIANTARRLIVE
6677655604PROPHESYTARRLIVE
6777655582DIVINETARRLIVE
6877687184HOPETARRLIVE
6977686715DIPLOMACY SERIESTARRLIVE
7077686147LVHTARRLIVE
7177686133LA VIEJATARRLIVE
7277686064BLUNTARILLOTARRLIVE
7377675696SOY CUBANOTARRLIVE
7477685904LA TRAVIATATARRLIVE
7577684753LOS VOLCANESTARRLIVE
7677684733LOS VOLCANES BWK B.W. KENT TOBACCO CO.TARRLIVE
7777684586MEDEROSTARRLIVE
7877683491GREEN PUFFERTARRLIVE
7977683425MONTECRUZ AGED CAMEROON MC 10 YEARS HECHO A MANOTARRLIVE
8077683405MONTECRISTO CUPTARRLIVE
8177683365MONTECRISTO OPENTARRLIVE
8277682843CUEYBATARRLIVE
8377682804BLACKCARD REPORTTARRLIVE
8477647123RETREATTARRLIVE
8577646246TIERRA DEL SOLTARRLIVE
8677682779ALEJOTARRLIVE
8777682413BLACK EAGLETARRLIVE
8877682151FLAMETARRLIVE
8977681326CIGARS 90 PLUSTARRLIVE
9077681034EZSMOKERTARRLIVE
9177674974ONONDAGATARRLIVE
9277673878LEWPORTTARRLIVE
9377674724ROGUE WARRIORTARRLIVE
9477674713ROGUETARRLIVE
9577672870SENATETARRLIVE
9677679369ROCKCHILDETARRLIVE
9777676724ORTSACTARRLIVE
9877675904BOGEY WOODSTARRLIVE
9977675897BOGEY TREESTARRLIVE
10077675892BOGEY MASTERTARRLIVE

Corporacion Habanos v. Santa Clara; SIGLO

I posted a week or so ago that Corporacion Habanos filed a few requests for extensions of time to file oppositions against Santa Clara's "SIGLO 21" trademark applications. I pointed out that Corporacion Habanos failed to file an opposition against the "SIGLO" trademark application. Well, now they have. July 1, 2009 is now their deadline to file a Notice of Opposition. What's the problem?

Siglo 21 No 1s

La Caridad Del Cobre Cigars - Family Lechon Night

Fuente Marketing, Ltd. v. Starbuzz Tobacco, Inc.; "X ON THE BEACH"

Self explanatory Opposition filed by Fuente. Ttabvue 91188466 OPP 1 FUENTE Adv Starbuzz

Specimen submitted in support of trademark application

Specimen submitted in support of trademark application

Absolutely Nuts - Has Nothing to Do With Cigars ...

Drop Us A Line - Maybe We'll Send You A Cigar Law T-Shirt

I really enjoy keeping up this blog and by a review of my traffic hits over the past couple of months there is a growing interest in this topic. 

It would be great to hear from the readers.  Drop me a line at bloom@cigarlaw.com and let me know what you like/dislike about Cigarlaw.com.  

I will randomly select some readers who contact me and send them a Cigar Law t-shirt. 

-FH

Empressa Cubana v. US Dept. Treasury, OFAC

This is not a tobacco/cigar case, rather its generally about "HAVANA CLUB" for rum. However, this decision will undoubtedly affect Cuba's trademark strategy in the United States. It also calls into question the recent TTAB decision that sustained an opposition against "HAVANA CLUB" for cigars. EMPRESSA v OFAC

Big News in the Cigar Industry Today

Granma Internacional

The Cuban newspaper Granma reports today that Cuba will cease cigar production because Raul Castro consulted with a Santera and now believes that tobacco is the "devil's weed." To replace the tobacco/cigar industry, Cuba will now cultivate medicinal grade marijuana. After consideration of the benefits of medicinal grade marijuana, Castro stated that "it is the hope of the revolution that this new crop will assist in bettering the vision of the Cuban people, which has been historically clouded." Castro continued, "it is an added benefit that this new crop will increase the appetite of the Cuban people."


New brands of Cuban sensimilla may include "HAVANA WOWIE", "PINAR DEL RIO GOLD", and "CHEECH & CHONG'S CUBAN SURPRISE". Castro boasted that the joints would be this big: (see image below)

The new Cuban president Raul Castro at Cuba's National Assembly election session in Havana
A review of the United States Patent and Trademark Office records reveals that the Cubans have already begun to file "intent to use" trademark applications to insure that the trademarks are free to use in the United States when the embargo is lifted, which, according to Obama's statements at today's G-20 conference, will occur by the end of this week.

Drew Estate's KUBA KUBA - PTO Continues to Say No to Registration

A few weeks ago, I posted that Drew Estate filed a very creative response to the PTO's refusal to register a trademark application for "KUBA KUBA".  The PTO considered the response, and thereafter withdrew it's initial grounds for refusal, but brought a new ground for refusal.  Namely, the PTO now states that the proposed trademark is geographically deceptively misdescriptive under Section 2(e)(3) of the Lanham Act.  Ouch.   In support of this new position the PTO directed Drew Estate to two recent cases, namely the "HAVANA CLUB" for cigars case and the "GUANTANAMERA" case.  The PTO's citation to the "GUANTANAMERA" case is in error for a variety of reaons, but most importantly, because the case is currently on appeal. In any event, check out the latest from the PTO: 

See Latest Office Action From PTO Refusing Registration Here.

The PTO is so inconsistent when it comes to the registrability of certain trademarks (in the cigar business) that it is ridiculous.  For instance, the PTO has allowed trademarks such as "PINAR DEL RIO", "CLASSIC CUBAN", and a number of other truly geographically deceptively misdescriptive trademarks to become registered.  

In the case of the "GUANTANAMERA" trademark the original PTO Trademark Examiner allowed the trademark to proceed to registration. It wasn't until Corporacion Habanos opposed the trademark and after 7 years of litigation did a finding of 2(e)(3) come down.  Again, this is on appeal now.  Moreover, the PTO has allowed the trademark "GUANTANAMERA" to become registered for "rum" of all things.  Gee, it's not geographically deceptively misdescriptive for rum, but it is for cigars? 

National Tabacco Co. v. BBK Tabacco "BLUNTARILLO"

BBK Tobacco v. Swedish Match "THE ORIGINAL SWAN VESTAS MADE TO THE HIGHEST QUALITY SINCE 1883"

National Go Out and Smoke A Cigar In Public Day!

March 29th is now National Go Out and Smoke A Cigar In Public Day. Just made it up. In fact, we should celebrate this annual event every day to remind our selves of our freedom to enjoy cigars and to oppenly dissent.

Corporacion Habanos Files Reply In Support of 56(f) Motion In "HAVANA COLLECTION" Opposition

Readers will recall that Xikar filed a motion for summary judgment recently in the "HAVANA COLLECTION" opposition pending at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"). In response, Opposer Corporacion Habanos complained that summary judgment is not appropriate at this stage since more discovery is needed. Here's their reply brief in support of their motion to request more time for discovery to respond to Xikar's motion for summary judgment. CH reply in support of 56f motion

Corporacion Habanos' Beef with "SIGLO 21" Trademark Application

Yesterday I posted that Corporacion Habanos filed a request for an extension of time to oppose the trademark application "SIGLO 21". Turns out they did the same for Santa Clara's other trademark application for the same mark but for cigars. I'm still not sure why in so much as Santa Clara owns a federal registration for "SIGLO" dating back to 2001 which is now incontestable. Must be the use of "21". Further, Santa Clara has another pending trademark for "SIGLO" (by itself) which just published and has not yet been opposed. Even more interesting is that Santa Clara has a pending application, which will soon register for "SIGLO XXI" which was not opposed by Corporacion Habanos.

Corporacion Habanos Files Request for Ext. Time to File Opposition "SIGLO 21"

Corporacion Habanos and its affiliate Empresa Cubano del Tabaco d/b/a/ Cubatobaco appears to have a problem with a trademark application for "SIGLO 21" [translation: 21st Century] as filed by Santa Clara, Inc. for "cigar cutters; cigarette lighters not of precious metal; cigarette lighters of precious metal; humidors." They have until June 16, 2009 to file a Notice of Opposition.

Neither party is a stranger to the TTAB.

Corporacion Habanos Gives Up on "CUBAN COFFEE"

A few months ago, Corporacion Habanos filed a request for an extension of time to oppose the trademark application for "CUBAN COFFEE" as filed by Mike's Cigars Distributors, Inc. for use in connection with "cigars made from Cuban seed tobacco and not flavored with coffee." While the reasons are not public, Corporacion Habanos failed to move forward with the filing of a Notice of Opposition, thus, the trademark application is moving forward to registration.

Thanks Cubaamor.com

Thanks for the mention of www.cigarlaw.com on www.cubaamor.com.  Don't know who you are, but thanks for the mention and the traffic.  -Ed. Cigar Law

Thanks Cubagreenscreen.com

Thanks for the mention of www.cigarlaw.com on www.cubagreenscreen.com.  Don't know who you are, but thanks for sending traffic. -Ed. Cigar Law

Thanks Babalublog.com

Thanks for the mention and link on www.babalublog.com.  All the best. -Ed. Cigar Law

Thanks Cigaradvisor.com

Thanks for the mention and link on www.cigaradvisor.com.  An honor to be added to your website.  All the best. -Ed. Cigar Law

BENCHMADE v. BENCHMARK BY FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP

Either Famous Smoke Shop Chose To Give Up, Or They Dropped The Ball

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB") recently issued a Notice of Default for Famous Smoke Shop's failure to file a responsive pleading (answer or motion to dismiss) to Holt's Company's recent Notice of Opposition to "BENCHMARK BY FAMOUS SMOKE SHOP" trademark application. The TTAB gave Famous Smoke Shop until March 17, 2009 to file its responsive pleading or face final default judgment. Nothing was filed by that date ... Notice of Default Famous Smoke

Guantanamera Cigars Co. v. Corporacion Habanos; Southern District of Florida

Guantanamera Cigars Co. www.guantanameracigars.com files suit against Corporacion Habanos, S.A. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging unfair competition and common law trademark infringement stemming from Corporacion Habanos' advertisement of its Cuban "GUANTANAMERA" cigars in a magazine with United States distribution. Guantanamera SDFLA

Trademark Attorney's Dream/Nightmare Trademark

As a trademark attorney, this is my favorite name for a cigar. Hypothetical: What if Corporacion Habanos made a counterfeit version of this cigar brand? How do you litigate that? "Judge, someone is counterfeiting our Genuine Counterfeit Cuban cigars ...." hmmmmm..... Genuine Counterfeit Cuban Specimen

Cuba's Declaration of Excusable Non-Use of a Trademark to Maintain Registrations in U.S.

Embargo? Yes. No Cuban products can be sold in U.S. However, most folks don't know that Cuba and Cuban entities can register their trademarks in the U.S. even though they can't sell products here. In order to maintain their U.S. trademark registrations they have to periodically file a "Declaration of Excusable Non-Use." It's ludicrous. Essentially, they can have a registration, never use it, and exclude American's and others who wish to use the mark in the U.S. from doing so. It's downright un-American, and I'm sick of it. Just try to do the same in Cuba. Just try it. Here's one example for Cuba's "LA CASA DEL HABANO". Lacasadelhabano Excusable Nonuse

Altadis USA, Inc. Seeks Ext. of Time to Oppose Blunt Wrap USA, Inc.'s "MASTER"

Blunt Wrap seeks to register "MASTER" for use in connection with tobacco products, accessories, including rolling tobacco for cigars, rolling papers, etc...

Altadis has until April 14, 2009 to file an opposition.  Altadis most likely filed the request for extension of time to file an opposition since it has an interest in "DUTCH MASTERS" for cigars.  The trademark office records indicate that the "DUTCH MASTERS" trademark was registered by Consolidated Cigar Corp., but later assigned to Max Rohr, Inc. a subsidary of Altadis USA, Inc.


This Trademark Examiner Gets It Right - PINAR DEL RIO

A few weeks ago I posted information relating to the proposed trademark "PINAR DEL RIO." Amazingly, the trademark office granted registration to "PINAR DEL RIO" for use in connection with cigars. The registration issued a few months ago. Another company sought to register "PINAR DEL RIO 1941" but was refused registration because of the existence of the prior registration. In response to the refusal the owners of "PINAR DEL RIO 1941" argued that they would seek to cancel the new registration. Now, the trademark examiner assigned to the "PINAR DEL RIO 1941" application issued an office action letter which basically will support a Petition for Cancellation of the "PINAR DEL RIO" trademark on the grounds that the mark is primarily deceptively misdescriptive since the trademark refers to well know geographic region for tobacco. This is a perfect example of the discrepancy of results one gets when you file a trademark application. Trademark Examiners will have differing opinions on the registrability of trademarks. Pinar Del Rio 1941 Oa 30509

Pete Johnson's Motion for Summary Judgment "TATUAJE" v. "TATTOO"

Nicaragua Imports' Response to Pete Johnson's Motion for Summary Judgment

Nicaragua Imports' Additional Exhibits In Response to Motion for Summary Judgment

Pete Johnson's Notice of Opposition "TATUAJE" v. "TATTOO"

Nicaragua Imports' Answer to Pete Johson's Notice of Opposition

KUBA KUBA - Drew Estate's Very Creative Response to Office Action

Drew Estate encountered a little trouble from the Trademark Office when it attempted to register "KUBA KUBA." Below is their very creative response to the Trademark Examiner's contention that the trademark is unregisterable because in his opinion the trademark is geographically deceptively misdescriptive of goods not coming from Cuba. KUBA KUBA

Oliva Comes After Cigarmony's NUBBER Trademark Application

Oliva Cigar Co. recently filed a request for an extension of time to file a Notice of Opposition against Cigarmony, LLC's trademark application for NUBBER.  While requests for extensions of time do not indicate which trademark is at issue (owned by the potential opposer), it is clear that Oliva is concerned about its NUB trademark.  

The deadline for Oliva to file the Notice of Opposition is now April 19, 2009.  Most likely counsel for Oliva and Cigarmony are talking turkey right now.  If I was a betting man, expect Cigarmony to abandon their use and application for NUBBER.  

From Cigarmony.com

Cigars Int'l, Inc. v. Los Blancos Cigar Co., Inc.; MAN O' WAR v. GODS OF WAR - ARIES

It appears that Cigar International has also opposed the application for registration of Los Blancos' "GODS OF WAR - ARIES" trademark.  See Opposition No. 91186363.  

Cigars Int'l Inc. v. Los Blanco Cigar Co.; MAN O WAR v. GODS OF WAR - MARTE

Here's Cigars Int'l Inc.'s Opposition against the registration of "GODS OF WAR - MARTE" MAN O WAR OPP

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Obama Invites US Rep. Castor of Tampa to SCHIP Signing Into Law Ceremony

President Obama signed the State Children's Health Insurance Program ("SCHIP") into law today. He invited Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor of Tampa to attend. Hey Castor, nice way to tell your district (Tampa and Ybor City and all of cigar manufacturers therein) that you love them.

see http://www.mgwashington.com/index.php/herd_washington/index/castor/2497/

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Long Beach City Council Says Smoke 'em If You Got 'em

KNX 1070 Newsradio reports that the Long Beach City Council amended a local ordinance to allow cigars to be smoked in designated cigar lounges.
http://www.knx1070.com/Lighting-Up-in-Long-Beach/3786463

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Bro, I can't find a blunt anywhere in this damn town

Check out this article in today's The Washington Times about a proposed amendment to the D.C. Drug Paraphernalia Act of 1982, which prohibits the sale of objects that are modified to make or use illegal drugs.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/not-just-blunts/

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Thanks ...

Thanks to Attorney Sam Hasler for his mention of this blog on his own blog located at www.haslerlaw.blogspot.com.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thanks ...

Thanks to Attorney Ron Coleman for the mention of this blog on his site www.likelihoodofconfusion.com.

Thanks also goes out to the gentleman that gave us a shout out on www.cigarfamily.com, namely, on the Cigar Lounge Online Forum http://lounge.cigarfamily.com/

We've noticed a lot of traffic from these sites this week and are pleased to see that others enjoy the content.

-Editor

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cigar Aficionado's Open Letter to Obama

Entertaining ...
http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Home/In_this_Isssue/0,2510,,00.html

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USA Today article on Taxing of Small Cigars




As you read this article, keep in mind the tune of "George Harrison's 'The Tax Man.'" I prefer Junior Parker's soulful version as sung on his album "Love Ain't Nothin' But A Business Goin' On."


http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-02-19-small-cigars_N.htm

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Empresa Cubana del Tabaco a/k/a Cubataba's Application for Certification Mark for "HABANOS"

Below is an "Office Action" letter issued in response to this Cuban entity's application for a certification mark for "HABANOS." Be prepared for Empresa's response soon ... arguments will undoubtedly regurgitate how famous and great Havana, Cuba is for cigars ... forget the fact they have not been legally available in the United States for four decades. Again, Obama fever ... Cuba is paving the way for sales in the United States ...

UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

SERIAL NO: 77/157193

MARK: HABANOS



*77157193*
CORRESPONDENT ADDRESS:
DAVID B. GOLDSTEIN
RABINOWITZ, BOUDIN, STANDARD, KRINSKY &
111 BROADWAY FL 11
NEW YORK, NY 10006-1901


RESPOND TO THIS ACTION:
http://www.uspto.gov/teas/eTEASpageD.htm

GENERAL TRADEMARK INFORMATION:
http://www.uspto.gov/main/trademarks.htm


APPLICANT: Empresa Cubana del Tabaco a/k/a Cubataba ETC.



CORRESPONDENT’S REFERENCE/DOCKET NO:
N/A
CORRESPONDENT E-MAIL ADDRESS:
dgoldstein@rbskl.com



OFFICE ACTION

TO AVOID ABANDONMENT, THE OFFICE MUST RECEIVE A PROPER RESPONSE TO THIS OFFICE ACTION WITHIN 6 MONTHS OF THE ISSUE/MAILING DATE.

ISSUE/MAILING DATE: 8/21/2008

This Office action is in response to applicant’s communication filed on August 10, 2008.

Applicant seeks to register the designation “Habanos” as a certification mark used to indicate the geographical origin of cigars. The word “habano” (the plural being “habanos”) is translated as “Havanan, Havana, of Havana.” See: Larousse, Gran Diccionario English-Spanish Spanish-English Dictionary, XVII & 362 (1944) and The American Heritage Spanish Dictionary, 277 (2nd ed, 2001)(copies enclosed). “Habanos” also means “something from Havana”. See: Reference.com (on-line encyclopedia)(copy enclosed). Further, “Habano” is defined as a Havana cigar or Cuban cigar. See: the above definitions as well as the on-line guide by CigarAdvisor (copy enclosed).

Certification Statement

A certification mark for a geographical location is used to certify that certain goods originate in the particular geographical region identified by the mark. Community of Roquefort v. William Faehndrich, Inc., 133 USPQ 633 (2nd Cir, 1962), and TMEP § 1306.02. In the present situation the designation “Habanos” indicates that cigars branded with applicant’s designation have their origin in the Province or City of Havana, Cuba, for Havana refers to both a Cuban province and city located therein. See: The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online (2005)(copy enclosed). The certification statement, however, is defective because it indicates that the certification mark indicates that cigars identified with applicant’s designation have their geographical origin in Cuba and are made from Cuban grown tobacco. Correspondingly, the certification statement must be amended to indicate the geographical location from which the goods originate, and that is Havana.

Geographical Misdescription

Applicant bases this service mark application, in part, upon a Cuban trademark registration that indicates the designation “Habanos” identifies cigars grown in the country of Cuba using tobacco produced in Cuba. However, the mark for which registration is sought is “Habanos”, a geographical region in Cuba that does not identify the entire country. Because the mark sought to be registered indicates that cigars originate in a particular geographical region (that is, the Province of Havana), and the Cuban trademark registration upon which the application is based, in part, indicates that the designation “Habanos” identifies cigars grown in all parts of Cuba, the mark geographically misdescribes the goods. Correspondingly, the following is instituted:

Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes geographically deceptive and primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive matter in relation to the identified goods and/or services. Trademark Act Sections 2(a) and 2(e)(3), 15 U.S.C. §1052(a), (e)(3); see In re Les Halles De Paris J.V., 334 F.3d 1371, 67 USPQ2d 1539 (Fed. Cir. 2003); In re Cal. Innovations Inc., 329 F.3d 1334, 66 USPQ2d 1853 (Fed. Cir. 2003), In re Budge Mfg. Co., 857 F.2d 773, 8 USPQ2d 1259 (Fed. Cir. 1988); TMEP §§1210, 1210.01(b)-(c).

A mark is geographically deceptive and primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive if the following is shown:

(1) The primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic place or location;

(2) The goods for which applicant seeks registration do not originate in the geographic place identified in the mark;

(3) Purchasers would be likely to make a goods-place association; that is, purchasers would be likely to believe that the goods originate in the geographic place identified in the mark; and

(4) The misrepresentation regarding the geographic origin of the goods is material to the purchaser’s decision to buy the goods or use the services in question.

In re Les Halles De Paris J.V., 334 F.3d 1371, 1373, 67 USPQ2d 1539, 1541 (Fed. Cir. 2003); In re Cal. Innovations Inc., 329 F.3d 1334, 1341, 66 USPQ2d 1853, 1859 (Fed. Cir. 2003); TMEP §1210.01(b)-(c).

Descriptiveness

Applicant seeks to register the designation “Habanos” for a certification mark for cigars. As was noted above, the word “Habanos” is variously defined. It is defined as “Havanan” or “of Havana” or “something from Havana”. “Habanos” is also defined as a Havana cigar or a cigar, in general. Further, applicant’s service mark registration, upon which this application is based, indicates that the cigars certified are produced over the entire country of Cuba using Cuban cigar tobacco. This evidence shows that the cigars covered by the service mark application are not exclusively produced in the Province of Havana and the designation “Habanos” is used as the generic name for cigars. Correspondingly, “Habanos” primarily signifies a type of cigar made either in Cuba or outside Cuba, without regard to the regional origin identified by the name, rather than a mark of certification. Since “Habanos” is a descriptive name of a particular type of cigar and does not identify a geographical location from which particular cigars originate, the refusal to register because “Habanos” does not act as a certification mark is maintained. Trademark Act § 2(e)(1). See: In re Cooperativa Produttori Latte E Fontina Valle D’Acosta, 230 USPQ 131 (TTAB, 1986), and Tea Board of India v. Republic of Tea Inc., 80 USPQ2d 1881 (TTAB, 2006).

Cuban Registration

Applicant submitted August 10, 2008, a certification signed by the General Director of the Cuban Office of Industrial Property indicating that as of January 27, 2003, the owner of the Cuban service mark registration upon which this application is based had relocated and that the registration was in full effect at that time. It is noted that the term of a Cuban trademark registration, which is ten years, commences on the filing date of the application, once the underlying mark is registered, and may be renewed for successive 10 year periods. See: Trademarks Throughout The World, § 39.20 (2008)(copy enclosed). Applicant’s service mark in Cuba was registered December 4, 1967. Correspondingly, with the proper renewals, the registration would have expired December 4, 2007. Although the General Director’s statement that the registration was in effect on January 27, 2003, was correct, the statement has little bearing upon the renewal of the registration.

It appears that the foreign registration on which this application is based, in part, expired on December 4, 2007. The foreign registration must be in force at the time the United States issues a registration based on that foreign registration. In re Societe D’Exploitation de la Marque Le Fouquet’s, 67 USPQ2d 1784 (TTAB 2003).

Therefore, applicant must submit a certificate of renewal or other certification from the intellectual property office of the foreign country, or a copy of the foreign registration that shows that the foreign registration has been renewed and will be in force at the time the registration issues in the United States. 37 C.F.R. §2.34(a)(3)(iii); TMEP §1004.01(a).



/David C. Reihner/, Examining Attorney
Law Office 111, 571-272-9392
571-273-9111 fax.

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Xikar, Inc. Files Motion for Summary Judgment in Corporacion Habanos v. Xikar, Inc.

OPPOSITION NO.91186534
Pending before the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Xikar recently filed its Motion for Summary Judgment in this matter. Full brief to be posted here shortly. In short, Xikar, like so many before them argues, among other things, that Havana and Habano are generic for cigars. I tend to agree whole heartedly. In fact, Corporacion Habanos and its related entities have been extremely aggressive lately in attempting to enforce "HABANOS" and "HAVANA" as a geographic indication of origin. Looks like Obama fever has spread and they are trying to pave the way for a United States market for Cuban cigars and related products.

Not Breaking News, But ... N.Y. Federal Judge Finds Cigar Maker Entitled to Relief Over 'Cohiba' Sales



http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202426406383

Good Luck enjoining General Cigar's sales of COHIBA in the U.S. Krinksy ...

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2008 STATE CIGAR TAX RATES

2008 STATE CIGAR TAX RATES
(per the Federation of Tax Administrators Web site)

Alabama
4.0¢ per cigar

Alaska
75% of the wholesale price

Arizona
13.0-44.1¢ per cigar

Arkansas
32% of the manufacturer's price

California
45.13% of the wholesale price

Colorado
40% of the manufacturer's price

Connecticut
20% of the wholesale price

Delaware
15% of the wholesale price

Florida
No Tax

Georgia
23% of the wholesale price

Hawaii
40% of the wholesale price

Idaho
40% of the wholesale price

Illinois
18% of the wholesale price

Indiana
24% of the wholesale price

Iowa
50% of the wholesale price (50¢ per cigar cap)

Kansas
10% of the wholesale price

Kentucky
7.5% of the wholesale price

Louisiana
8-20% of the manufacturer's price

Maine
20% of the wholesale price

Maryland
15% of the wholesale price

Massachusetts
30% of the wholesale price

Michigan
32% of the wholesale price

Minnesota
70% of the wholesale price

Mississippi
15% of the wholesale price

Missouri
10% of the wholesale price

Montana
50% of the wholesale price

Nebraska
20% of the wholesale price

Nevada
30% of the wholesale price

New Hampshire
19% of the wholesale price

New Jersey
30% of the wholesale price

New Mexico
25% of the product value
Colorado
40% of the manufacturer's price

New York
37% of the wholesale price

North Carolina
3% of the wholesale price
Delaware
15% of the wholesale price

North Dakota
28% of the wholesale price

Ohio
17% of the wholesale price

Oklahoma
12-36¢ per cigar

Oregon
65% of the wholesale price (cap of 50¢ per cigar)

Pennsylvania
No Tax

Rhode Island
40% of the wholesale price (cap of 50¢ per cigar)

South Carolina
5% of the manufacturer's price

South Dakota
35% of the wholesale price

Tennessee
6.6% of the wholesale price

Kentucky
7.5% of the wholesale price

Texas
1.0¢ per cigar

Utah
35% of the manufacturer's price

Vermont
41% of the manufacturer's price

Virginia
10% of the wholesale price

Washington
75% of the wholesale price (cap of 50¢ per cigar)

Washington, D.C.
12% of gross receipts

West Virginia
7% of the wholesale price

Wisconsin
50% of the wholesale price (cap of 50¢ per cigar)

Wyoming
20% of the wholesale price

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GODS OF WAR - MARTE; Answer to Opposition

CARMELO v. DON CARMELO, The latter gives up ...

Shortly after this opposition was filed, the owners of DON CARMELO expressly abandoned their application. Carmelo Opposition

Sabor Havana Cigars' Upcoming Events in South Florida

SABOR HAVANA CIGARS

buy 3 Gran Habano cigars and get 1 FREE Gran Habano cigar with a raffle ticket. 

The item we will be raffling the day of the event is a custom made Gran Habano humidor that will contain 80 premium cigars from our Cabinet Selection line. The cigars will come in 4 different sizes Gran Robusto 6x54, Robusto 5x52, Grand Consul 4 3/4x60, Churchill 7x48.

Event Date: February 27, 2009 & Raffle Day March 20, 2009 3pm- 6pm

Sabor Havana Cigars Coral Gables 2309 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, Florida

Event Date: Raffle Day April    3, 2009 5pm- 8pm

Sabor Havana Cigars Sunset 9891 Sunset Drive Miami, Florida 

Event Date: Raffle Day April 17, 2009 5pm- 8pm

Sabor Havana Cigars Doral 2600 NW 87th Ave Doral, Florida 

Event Date: Raffle Day April 24, 2009 5pm- 8pm

                 Sabor Havana Cigars West Palm Beach 4530 PGA blvd. Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Cigar Law is Moving to WordPress

We are slowly transferring Cigar Law content from Blogger to Wordpress.  This make take us a while as we are not jobless teens with plenty of free time.  In any event, here's what it will look like www.cigarlaw.wordpress.com.   

Mike's Cigar Distributors v. United Tobacco Distributors

Mike's Cigar Distributors v. United Tobacco Distributors
LA COABA EXTRA v. CUBAO

Mike's Cigar Distributors v. United Tobacco Distributors, Inc.; Opposition to "CUBAO"

Cigars Intl' Inc., v. Bidwell Cigar, Inc.; Opposition to "CALLE OCHO"

Bidwell's Answer to Cigars Intl Inc.'s Opposition to CALLE OCHO

Top Tobacco, L.P. v. Jonathan Drew, Inc.; Opposition to KRUSH CLASSIC

Jonathan Drew, Inc.'s Answer to Opposition Re: KRUSH CLASSIC

Corporacion Habanos' Response to Office Action Re: Certification Mark for "HABANOS"

Not New, But Very Informative ... Corporacion Habanos v. Superior Cigars

But Wait, There's Two "PINAR DEL RIO" Trademarks

But Wait, There's Two "PINAR DEL RIO" Trademarks

The Trademark Examiner Assigned to This Application Apparently Does Check Wikipedia.

Response to Office Action Letter by PINAR DEL RIO 1941

Should Cigar Law Accept Ads?

Should Cigar Law Accept Ads?
Si or No?

USPTO Surprisingly Issues PINAR DEL RIO Registration

USPTO Surprisingly Issues PINAR DEL RIO Registration
Even with use of HABANO on packaging.

What Is Going On At the USPTO?

At a bare minimum they should read the Wikipedia entry for Pinar Del Rio
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinar_del_Río_Province

Details of SCHIP Tax

The industry association IPCPR has a nice breakdown of the details of the new SCHIP tax. See http://ipcpr.com/legislation.html

PRESIDENTE CIGARS

PRESIDENTE CIGARS

President's Day ... yes, there is a Presidente Cigar

Word MarkP PRESIDENTE CIGARS
TranslationsThe foreign wording in the mark translates into English as PRESIDENT CIGARS.
Goods and ServicesIC 034. US 002 008 009 017. G & S: Cigars. FIRST USE: 19990100. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19990100
Mark Drawing Code(3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code01.03.03 - Stars grouped in circles, ovals, or geometric figures
05.15.02 - Laurel leaves or branches (borders or frames); Wreaths
26.01.09 - Circles having animals as a border; Circles having geometric figures as a border; Circles having humans as a border; Circles having objects as a border; Circles having plants as a border; Geometric figures, objects, humans, plants or animals forming or bordering the perimeter of a circle.
26.01.18 - Circles, three or more concentric; Concentric circles, three or more; Three or more concentric circles
Serial Number78965798
Filing DateSeptember 1, 2006
Current Filing Basis1A
Original Filing Basis1A
Owner(APPLICANT) Danli Tobacco Shop, Inc. CORPORATION FLORIDA 1935 W Flagler Street Miami FLORIDA 33135
DisclaimerNO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE CIGARS APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Description of MarkColor is not claimed as a feature of the mark.
Type of MarkTRADEMARK
RegisterPRINCIPAL
Live/Dead IndicatorLIVE

Arturo Fuente Settles With Garo Habano

Corporacion Habanos Opposes "HABANO CLASICO and Design"

HABANO CLASICO and Design at Issue

HABANO CLASICO and Design at Issue

Thanks TTABLOG

Big thanks to Attorney John L. Welch for the prominent mention of Cigar Law on his widely visited site THE TTABLOG.  

I'm back!

I've been away at a trademark/internet conference in San Francisco, thus no new posts. Stay tuned for more Cigar Law in the next few days.  Below is a new opinion rendered by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of a case that has been pending for more than a decade. -FH

Fifteen Years Later - Decision on ORIENT EXPRESS

CIGAR SAVOR too close to CIGARETTESAVER? Altadis moves to cancel the registration

Registrant of CIGARETTESAVER - Pro Se Answer and Peculiar Motion for Summary Judgment

TTAB calmly rules that CIGARETTESAVER's Motion for Summary Judgment is premature

Emboldened by Recent Decision, Cuba Advertises Cohiba in Smoke Magazine

South Dakota Lounge Owner Wants Exceptions In Smoking Ban

Xikar's Motion for Summary Judgment (Part 1) "HAVANA COLLECTION"

Xikar's Motion for Summary Judgment Part 2 (cont. of exhibits)

Corporacion Habanos v. Drew Estate "LA VIEJA HABANA"

Appeal of TTAB Decision on Guantanamera Cigars

New Mexico - Pleasure Police

No Cigar, But Still Smokin'

Meet Me in Las Vegas

Meet Me in Las Vegas
Big Smoke 2008 Nov. 7-9

Salinger Speaks on Cuban CIgars

USPTO Says No to "HAVANA CLUB" Trademark for Cigars