Havana Club Holding, S.A. v. Galleon S.A.

203 F.3d 116 (2000)

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Havana Club Holding, S.A. v. Galleon S.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
203 F.3d 116 (2000)

Facts

Havana Club Holding, S.A. (HCH) (plaintiff) was a Cuban company that sold alcoholic drinks. Bacardi-Martini USA (Bacardi) (defendant) was a Delaware corporation that also sold alcoholic drinks. Galleon S.A. eventually merged into Bacardi. Following the Cuban Revolution, the United States placed an embargo on Cuba in 1963. HCH was formed through a series of mergers in 1993 that resulted from attempts to sell Cuban rum abroad. One of HCH’s predecessors registered the “Havana Club” mark in the United States and renewed this registration in 1996 for a period of 10 years. HCH was assigned these rights in 1997. Although HCH did not sell this rum directly in the United States, certain Americans under the terms of the Cuban embargo could bring up to $100 worth of goods back to the United States. Starting in 1995, Bacardi’s predecessor, Galleon, began selling rum directly in the United States under the label “Havana Club.” HCH filed suit against Bacardi for trademark infringement under the Lanham Act. The district court ruled that HCH had no standing because the Cuban embargo prevented HCH from selling its product in the United States. HCH subsequently appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)

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