Kretek International Inc., a tobacco importer headquartered in Moorpark, has won an important round in an ongoing trademark dispute with two Cuban cigar companies.
Motions filed by two Cuban state tobacco companies to dismiss Kretek’s claims to trademarked brands were denied by the U.S. Trademark Office, according to a statement issued by the company on Tuesday.
A trial scheduled for late 2020 will allow Kretek to argue that the Cuban companies forfeited trademark rights as a result of a 55-year embargo.
Brands such as Kretek’s Cuban Rounds are at the center of trademark claims, being easily recognized in American stores for more than 14 years.
“Cuban Rounds is a success under Kretek International’s watch, and a foreign government should not be able to act as a bully and take that away from us,” said Mark Cassar, chief executive of Kretek.
“Our battle for trademark rights may be lengthy and could go all the way to the United States Supreme Court, but we are confident that we will prevail and continue to contribute to the net worth of the United States’ Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
Kretek’s win opens the door for other old trademark cases, the company said, meaning that older Cuban trademarks could be called into question as well.