My take on the US Cuba Proposed Policy Changes.


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What about all the trademark / brand name wrangling?  Will Habanos slog it through the US court system (which will take years and likely result in more losses than wins)?  Or will every existing marca get Mexico/Edmundo Dantes style pseudonyms for the US market?

Some nc brand names are already owned by altadis/it I'd guess they will just shut down the nc versions.

Some brands like red dot Cohiba will have no leg to stand on legally against cuba and will have to go

Remember that nationalisations are completely legal and Cuba has done nothing illegal. The only reason that the nc brands exist in the US is because USA courts wouldn't recognise any Cuban legs rights because of the embargo. If it lifts then Cuba will regain its legal status.

Most likely some nc will have to name change like they had to do in the rest of the world, eg NC LGC is called El Credito in Europe.

There will be lots of lawyer action still Imo but the law sides with Cuba.

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This is my biggest fear. Cuba does need the money but I really don't want to see a McDonald's on every corner in Havana...

Bare with me as I have been asked a few hundred times since yesterday via PM and e-mail Overall, what a great start! I am still unsure as to what the current presidency can approve without congres

"Americans don’t typically enjoy sucking back the strong, rich tastes of Cohibas or Montecristos that are unique to the local soil. They prefer the mellower flavours from elsewhere. “Think bland – may

Agreed, I don't see this changing much, it's just a photo op for the current US president.

p.s. I like bread and mayo, but I sure has heck don't like mild cardboard cigars.

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I don't think the brand issue is that simple. High courts have already ruled that General Tobacco owns the Cohiba trademark in the USA. There will have to be some financial agreements between the two companies; I doubt habanos would want to be without their Flagship brand as well as others (Bolivar, Ramon Allones, punch, HDM, partagas).

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We are sooooo far from having to think about Habanos on shelves in the USA.

Helms-Burton Act, read all about it and realize that Congress will have to play before we have to worry about marketing issues.

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We are sooooo far from having to think about Habanos on shelves in the USA.

Helms-Burton Act, read all about it and realize that Congress will have to play before we have to worry about marketing issues.

Agreed and although these are the largest relaxation of policies/laws related to U.S./ Cuba relations, in 2 years it could all be reversed by a new president and republican run House/Senate. I hope not but don't have much faith in our legislators.

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  • I am not sure what the Cuban government has given up. They appear to be the short term winners.

More likely, Obama's taking initiative to prevent possible "Cuban Missile Crises" like what happened in October 1962.

Putin is under so much economical and political pressure, and who knows what a wounded Siberian wolf is capable of!

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I don't think the brand issue is that simple. High courts have already ruled that General Tobacco owns the Cohiba trademark in the USA. There will have to be some financial agreements between the two companies; I doubt habanos would want to be without their Flagship brand as well as others (Bolivar, Ramon Allones, punch, HDM, partagas).

That's what I mean, all previous rulings are in the context of judges being biased against Cuba. US courts in the future would have to be fair and just as part of any embargo negotiations.

The Dominican Cohiba is a straight up copyright violation that would be a 2 minute open and shut case in favour of Cuba in any other nation.

The ramifications for the embargo even starting to relax are terrible news for the nc brands that used the embargo to their advantage in terms of avoiding legal actions.

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So much for bringing a few singles back from another Country,,,

"And Americans can't rush to Canada or Europe for Cuban stogies. U.S. travelers can purchase Cuban cigars and tobacco only in Cuba. Cuban tobacco products sold in other countries are prohibited for purchase or import."

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That's what I mean, all previous rulings are in the context of judges being biased against Cuba. US courts in the future would have to be fair and just as part of any embargo negotiations.

The Dominican Cohiba is a straight up copyright violation that would be a 2 minute open and shut case in favour of Cuba in any other nation.

Cohiba is a special case. The US Supreme Court previously decided in General Cigar's favor over Cubatabaco. But it's back at SCOTUS again recently, as Cubatabaco is still seeking cancellation of GC's trademark in the USA. Even if Cuba loses the current case, I could see Cubatabaco winning a future post-embargo legal battle over that one, since it's only because of the embargo Cubatabaco was unable to trademark Cohiiba in the USA.

Just looking at the Altadis website, they own the US trademarks for: H. Upmann, Montecristo, and Romeo y Julieta. So those brands would have clear path to the US market.

But most of the other brands have competing trademark ownership (e.g., Bolivar, Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, among others). Most of these brands existed prior to the revolution and nationalization. In many cases, the US companies were started by the same families who owned the brands in Cuba and left after Castro took over. I don't think any anti-Cuba bias will be necessary for US courts to find in the current US holders' favor. And that would block a lot of existing Cuban brand names in the USA.

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Just imagine if the embargo got lifted and Habanos were STILL not allowed to be sold in the country lmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

For the Americans, what's the general feeling about this news in the states? When I say general I don't mean how do oyu cigar smoking mates feel about this, I mean how do the check out chicks and people on the train etc feel about this? or does anyone even care at all?

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But most of the other brands have competing trademark ownership (e.g., Bolivar, Hoyo de Monterrey, Partagas, among others). Most of these brands existed prior to the revolution and nationalization. In many cases, the US companies were started by the same families who owned the brands in Cuba and left after Castro took over. I don't think any anti-Cuba bias will be necessary for US courts to find in the current US holders' favor. And that would block a lot of existing Cuban brand names in the USA.

Nationalisation and ownership by a Government will rightly or wrongly take precedence I think. Not that it matters, with the knowledge that the real McCoy can be available the ersatz versions will wither on the vine. They've had a good run, time it was over.

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Whatever happens, I'm just really happy I got to see Cuba before instead of after. Thank you Rob.

Totally agree Andrew,

Dana and I had this conversation as we walked the Malacon last month. We are so glad we got to exsperiance it before the gates open.

We know there will be a MC. Ds on every corner if/when things open up but if it helps the people of Cuba,so be it.

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Just imagine if the embargo got lifted and Habanos were STILL not allowed to be sold in the country :lmao::lmao::lmao:

For the Americans, what's the general feeling about this news in the states? When I say general I don't mean how do oyu cigar smoking mates feel about this, I mean how do the check out chicks and people on the train etc feel about this? or does anyone even care at all?

I'm not sure the average American has much knowledge of Cuba. As we talk to people about our time in Cuba, a lot of our friends don't really know of the laws and what's aloud as far as travel and or imports. We in the cigar community are hyper senative because of our interests.Maybe that's because we're from Minnesota. I'm sure it's a differant story in Florida or other states that have a larger Cuban/American population.

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Matthew and I have been talking about Altadis and their ownership of the duplicate brands in the American market. These brands, like Cohiba Red Dot Partagas, Upmann, RyJ have nothing to do with their Cuban counterparts. Are they just going to bow out and take their boxes (and boxes...) of cigars off the shelves at the warehouse Mike's in Miami Beach?

Yes this has to go through Congress. Yes this will not happen tomorrow. But the question is not will it, but when?

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Are they just going to bow out and take their boxes (and boxes...) of cigars off the shelves at the warehouse Mike's in Miami Beach?

I guess we can't know what will happen until it actually does, but I imagine that it will be less of an issue with the brands owned by Altadis. They could do any number of things - Upmann Dominican, completely rename, reband, etc.

It might be more of an issue with the brands owned by General Cigar. Partagas, for instance was liscensed to General by the Cifuentes family - the original ( true? ) owners of the brand. General might have a case for the brands in the U.S.

We shall see....

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This is one of the few things I actually agree with the president on. His logic is flawless and this is a nice big fat first step. Yes, it remains to see how quickly more progress will be made.

I am interested in seeing the Cuban people benefit and this pushes the pieces forward on the board. So long overdue. clap.gif

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Thanks for your thoughtful takes Rob. I think the symbolic value here is the most important. Congress may not approve removing the trade embargo immediately--but it has become inevitable.

The fact that Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush were so quick to jump on this move and criticize it so soundly suggests to me that they think the politics are still favorable in sticking with the hard liner stance. Nationally, this will be a winning issue for the Democrats. Most Americans favor removing the embargo. But for most Americans this is not a hot button issue that will drive their votes. As was noted in another post, it could hurt the Democrats in Florida. I suspect that Hillary will present a nuanced approach that includes waiting until Cuba is more democratic and less oppressive, etc. to lift the embargo, to placate the South Florida folks. She has shown the ability to move to the center when it's expedient.

I'm thankful that my interest in Cuban cigars has helped sensitize me to the issues faced by the Cuban people, and allowed me to meet so many people who actually know something about the country.

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Long overdue first step IMO. Hopefully more to come, but Congress has been a corrupt, gridlocked entity for some time. Maybe if the money's right.

All the people I've talked about the embargo with over the years see it as a silly, outdated policy against a poor little nation. To a person.

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