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New US-Cuba ties fuel bitter Havana Club rum trademark fight

Posted at 7:51 AM, Jun 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-10 07:51:40-04

MIAMI (AP) - Two liquor giants are escalating a 20-year fight to secure the rights to sell Havana Club rum in the U.S. when the Cuban embargo finally ends.

Bacardi is launching sales nationwide for the Havana Club it produces in Puerto Rico, while competitor Pernod Ricard is expanding the distillery it shares with Cuba's government to prepare for the day when their brand can be sold in the U.S.

Both Bacardi and Pernod Ricard hope to capitalize on consumers' growing appreciation for premium rums, as well as U.S. excitement for easier travel to Cuba and its once-forbidden rum and cigars. Similar disputes typically are resolved by establishing who registered first, but this case is complicated and has been defined by bitterness between Cuba's government and exiles.

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