BY ELAINE WALKER
An appellate court ruled that Bacardi U.S.A.’s marketing of Havana Club rum is not misleading to consumers.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit unanimously ruled in Bacardi’s favor in the ongoing dispute with Pernod Ricard. The Appellate Court reaffirmed that Bacardi has accurately portrayed both the geographic origin and the Cuban heritage of the Havana Club.
Bacardi’s labeling of the product says that the product is made in Puerto Rico based on the original Cuban recipe from the creators of the brand, the family of Jose Arechabala.
Pernod Ricard had argued that using the Havana Club name for a rum not made in Cuba was misleading to consumers. Pernod has been trying to block Bacardi from selling Havana Club in the U.S.
The Appellate Court found that the packaging is “factually accurate” and “unambiguous” regarding the geographic origin of Havana Club rum. The Court added “no reasonable consumer could be misled by those statements and the rest of the label does not put those statements in doubt.” The ruling upheld the original ruling on April 6, 2010 by the Wilmington, Delaware, District Court.
Bacardi re-launched Havana Club rum in the U.S. in August 2006 based on the original recipe created in Cuba in the 1930’s.
This is just the latest ruling in a fight that has dragged on for more than a decade, through multiple courts and government agencies, over who has the rights to the Havana Club trademark. Pernod Ricard sells Havana Club internationally and in Cuba through a partnership with the Cuban government.