How Will Trademarks Get Resolved As Cuba/US Normalize?


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We've got Cuban Punch, and Non-Cuban Punch. Same for Montecristo, Hoyo, Partagas, et. al. How will ownership of the brand names and trademarks be resolved? Any lawyers on here with know how?

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There must be prior examples of nationalized industries being subsequently privatized? I can't think of one that had a conflict over trademarks though . . . I don't think anyone fought to hard over the Trabant nameplate for example . . . :P

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My guess:

General Cigar (owner of NC brands Cohiba, Partagas, Bolivar, Punch, Ramon Allones, Hoyo De Monterrey) is owned by Swedish Match.

HSA has done plenty of business with Swedish match around the world.

Distribution split in the US between Altadis (Imperial) and General (Swedish match) makes some sense subject to the necessary acceptable/agreed re-branding of the Non Cuban lines.

The current court actions can be seen as the necessary argy bargy before the end game.

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My guess:

General Cigar (owner of NC brands Cohiba, Partagas, Bolivar, Punch, Ramon Allones, Hoyo De Monterrey) is owned by Swedish Match.

HSA has done plenty of business with Swedish match around the world.

Distribution split in the US between Altadis (Imperial) and General (Swedish match) makes some sense subject to the necessary acceptable/agreed re-branding of the Non Cuban lines.

The current court actions can be seen as the necessary argy bargy before the end game.

So you think HSA will grant General Cigar continued distribution rights IF GC agrees to rebrand their NC lines? Sounds like a possible solution, although it's hard to imagine anyone giving up rights to a name like "Partagas" or "Hoyo" there's just a lot of value there.

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So you think HSA will grant General Cigar continued distribution rights IF GC agrees to rebrand their NC lines? Sounds like a possible solution, although it's hard to imagine anyone giving up rights to a name like "Partagas" or "Hoyo" there's just a lot of value there.

Once the "real" partagas or hoyo is available to the American consumer, a lot of the value is lost in my opinion. The far greater value is in the distribution rights. I can't even imagine what the price will be for the U.S. Market. Certain to be exponentially more than the $100k PCC paid for Asia Pacific

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Some brands like Partagas in particular, were sold by Ramon Cifuentes to general cigar who had the rights and owned the brand before Castro came to power and nationalized it. So who has the rights? The original owner or the cuban government who took it over? This and brands similar would have a more interesting court case should swedish match try to fight them for the US rights. Unlike Cohiba which originated under the current regime.

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To be honest, I really don't care what they might eventually call the cigars - my "biggest concern" would be cigars of consistent quality.

Side question: is CC "quality" an issue of conditions, wages, etc - or is it that people continue to buy regardless of said "quality".....

( I've been guilty of the latter )

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Some brands like Partagas in particular, were sold by Ramon Cifuentes to general cigar who had the rights and owned the brand before Castro came to power and nationalized it. So who has the rights? The original owner or the cuban government who took it over? This and brands similar would have a more interesting court case should swedish match try to fight them for the US rights. Unlike Cohiba which originated under the current regime.

Legally the government as nationalisation is a completely legal act for any government to do.

As far as I understand it anyway! :D

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IMO no matter what they workout on trademarks, the U.S. Government will more than likely tax the CC coming in so much we will be like our Aussie Brothers and be paying out the butt.

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IMO no matter what they workout on trademarks, the U.S. Government will more than likely tax the CC coming in so much we will be like our Aussie Brothers and be paying out the butt.

More than any other cigar tobacco is taxed? ( typically state by state )

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My guess:

General Cigar (owner of NC brands Cohiba, Partagas, Bolivar, Punch, Ramon Allones, Hoyo De Monterrey) is owned by Swedish Match.

HSA has done plenty of business with Swedish match around the world.

Distribution split in the US between Altadis (Imperial) and General (Swedish match) makes some sense subject to the necessary acceptable/agreed re-branding of the Non Cuban lines.

The current court actions can be seen as the necessary argy bargy before the end game.

Spot on!

A distribution deal like that could avert the need for law suits on the brands those two lay claim to in the US. It is not necessary to involve the courts for voluntary trademark reassignments. I suspect that'll be the most profitable path for all concerned except the lawyers, and certainly the quickest. And it would cover the majority of current CC marcas, including the most important premium brands. That doesn't leave a whole lot to worry about, and it appears a few other marcas do not have NC "equivalents". The wild card may be any brands co-opted by both Cuban nationalization AND a distributor of NC's for the US without satisfying pre-revolution family claims (not sure if or where that situation still exists).

Altadis:

Gispert (current US, defunct CC)

H, Upmann

Juan Lopez

Montecristo

Por Larranaga (not currently listed on their website, but NC brand has been attributed to Altadis)

Quintero (defunct US, current CC)

Romeo y Julieta

Saint Luis Rey

Trinidad

General Cigar:

Bolivar

Cohiba

Hoyo de Monterrey

La Gloria Cubana

Partagas

Punch

Ramon Allones (not currently listed on their website, but older NC stock still available)

Sancho Panza

That'd do just fine and they can hash out any others through the legal system for years to come without significantly effecting overall sales volume. Expect high retails in the US, so the overseas mail-order biz is likely safe for now. We may still be dodging US Customs, this time to avoid taxes, but what the hell.

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I've talked with a few B&M owners and U.S. tobacconists about their perspective on this subject and their educated opinions in a nutshell is that it's just gonna be fights* fights* fights* fights* fights* fights between Cuban tobacco authorities and U.S. ones on the name brand ownerships.

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IMO no matter what they workout on trademarks, the U.S. Government will more than likely tax the CC coming in so much we will be like our Aussie Brothers and be paying out the butt.

The Feds do not tax cigars in the U.S. It is up to the individual states and every state is different. Florida and Pennsylvania have the lowest cigar taxes.....for now! Edit; Obama did institute the SCHIP tobacco tax but this applied to all tobacco products across the board.

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The issue isn't the trademarks but Tobacco. In particular wrapper leaf. The US market for cigars is 20 times larger than the entire world market combined. If I am correct, up to 40% of Habanos purchases are made by the US market anyway. Imagine if that opened much larger. It will be rough all around but particularly harsh for those outside of the US. I think they are looking at 2-3 year period to normalize production and distribution, so during that time period there isn't much that can be done. Get your sticks now because who knows what the future holds.

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The issue isn't the trademarks but Tobacco. In particular wrapper leaf. The US market for cigars is 20 times larger than the entire world market combined. If I am correct, up to 40% of Habanos purchases are made by the US market anyway. Imagine if that opened much larger. It will be rough all around but particularly harsh for those outside of the US. I think they are looking at 2-3 year period to normalize production and distribution, so during that time period there isn't much that can be done. Get your sticks now because who knows what the future holds.

As Rob mentioned before, Cuba is traditionally very loyal to those who have been loyal to them.

I don't think the traditional markets will be thrown out in favour of the US. Id anything I'd assume supply will be gradually increased to keep quality up, the high demand and low supply isn't exactly going to hurt the US market, if anything it's win win for Cuba.

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As Rob mentioned before, Cuba is traditionally very loyal to those who have been loyal to them.

I guess if that were true, there would still be coronas galore and no 54 / 56 / 58 RG cigars.......

Do you really believe that Imperial / HSA will not try to maximize revenue?

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The Feds do not tax cigars in the U.S. It is up to the individual states and every state is different. Florida and Pennsylvania have the lowest cigar taxes.....for now! Edit; Obama did institute the SCHIP tobacco tax but this applied to all tobacco products across the board.

Semantics. Technically, we'd be talking tariffs in the case of cigar imports. Currently the US has among the lowest duty rates in the world on cigars at 1.4% + US$0.57 per kg, though I think there is also an excise tax (about $0.40 per piece ???). But, that can easily be raised, even targeted for "select" countries of import. That's not including state sales taxes, which can also be targeted by product (think gasoline).

Most politicians have never met a tax they didn't like. And this is an easy one to push through. How much resistance do you think they'd get from the general public if we were told cigars were to be heavily taxed "for our own good" and deficit reduction?

Yeah, I know. Flat tax and other campaign promises. But, seriously...

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I've talked with a few B&M owners and U.S. tobacconists about their perspective on this subject and their educated opinions in a nutshell is that it's just gonna be fights* fights* fights* fights* fights* fights between Cuban tobacco authorities and U.S. ones on the name brand ownerships.

My long experience in business and banking tells me this is correct. As in a divorce, the more money involved, the dirtier the fighting and, in the end, no one wins except the lawyers (and the wife, of course). I just don't see these issues being resolved without a long court battle over many years.

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Where did you find these figures?

Do you seriously think that 40% of millions of cigars find their way to a country where they're illegal, without a single "official" distributor?

The figure I have repeatedly heard within the industry is 30%. That is 30% by value not volume.

The figure is impossible to independently verify. Just a"best guess" and it would be in the vicinity of 18-20 million cigars.

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What i find interesting is that my government hasn't tried to come up with some scheme to tax the CCs are into the country. I have to imagine they are missing out on a big chunk of money.

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The figure I have repeatedly heard within the industry is 30%. That is 30% by value not volume.

The figure is impossible to independently verify. Just a"best guess" and it would be in the vicinity of 18-20 million cigars.

Easy..careful Rob he might tell you the whole topic ...is pointless and meaningless...

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Man, I think the only reason the NC with Havana namesakes sell is because they are named after a famous Cuban brand. Call them what you like, they are by and large awful smokes. Ive been through them all and excepting a rare, well-aged HdM Excalibur maduro or skinny LGC, widely available CC will spell the end of these dog loafs.

Of course, I believe I am in the minority and don't care about what the brand is called or what the packaging looks like.

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As Rob mentioned before, Cuba is traditionally very loyal to those who have been loyal to them.

I don't think the traditional markets will be thrown out in favour of the US. Id anything I'd assume supply will be gradually increased to keep quality up, the high demand and low supply isn't exactly going to hurt the US market, if anything it's win win for Cuba.

We can also probably say bye bye to proper aging in the factories too frown.gif

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