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World IN BRIEF / NEW YORK

Rum-Label Decision Likely to Irk Cuba

February 10, 2000|From Times Wire Reports

In a decision that could increase tensions between the U.S. and Cuba, a U.S. appeals court in New York upheld Bermuda-based liquor firm Bacardi & Co.'s right to use Cuban rum labeled Havana Club in the U.S. The ruling, dated last Friday, found that a Cuban-French joint venture had no rights to the trademark in the United States and that Bacardi could sell rum under the Havana Club name. Cuba has accused Bacardi of behaving like a "pirate firm," and last year the Havana government threatened to stop protecting U.S. trademarks registered there. Brands including Coca-Cola, Marlboro and McDonald's are legally registered in Cuba. The original Havana Club firm was confiscated by Fidel Castro's government without compensation, according to Bacardi.

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