Messages sent by news aktuell GmbH, Hamburg Arechabala Family and Bacardi Call Submission Of Trademark Dispute to WTO Misguided / WTO is for International Trade Disputes, Not Civil Cases BRUSSELS, Belgium (ots-PRNewswire) - Members of the Arechabala family and Bacardi officials today criticized Pernod Ricard for pressuring the European Union to file a claim with the World Trade Organization (WTO) that is an unwarranted and reckless intrusion into a civil dispute between two business competitors. Last April, a United States District Court in New York dismissed a suit brought by Havana Club Holdings S.A., a joint venture between Pernod Ricard and the Castro government, against Bacardi. The Court determined that the joint venture has no rights to the Havana Club rum trademark in the United States, thus clearing the way for the Arechabala family and Bacardi to commence U.S. sales of this rum. Now Pernod Ricard has pressured the EU into filing a claim with the WTO in an attempt to politicize a purely civil dispute. "This is a private civil matter and not in anyway connected to the world trade laws or the WTO," said Jose Manuel Arechabala. "Pernod Ricard knowingly purchased an interest in property that the Castro government illegally confiscated from my family and therefore has no legitimate claim to this trademark. The courts have spoken and reached a fair and just result," he concluded. Havana Club rum was originally produced and marketed by the Arechabala family. In 1960, Castro confiscated the family's holdings, including the rights to the rum, without compensation. Castro's government then began selling the rum in Cuba under the stolen Havana Club trademark. Since 1993, the Cuban government has been allied with Pernod Ricard to sell Havana Club. In 1994, Bacardi filed for a trademark for Havana Club rum in the U.S. and began distributing it in New York in 1995, after reaching an agreement in principle with the Arechabalas. The agreement was formalized in 1997. Most recently, members of the Arechabala family and Bacardi filed a lawsuit against Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government in the Spanish courts to recover the "Havana Club" trademark in Spain. "Piracy still flourishes in Castro's Cuba. Pernod is in clear violation of standard principles of international law and its backdoor attempt to use the WTO is very transparent," said Jorge Rodriguez-Marquez, Bacardi Vice President of Corporate Communications. Lawyers on behalf of Bacardi rejected the WTO move as a desperate attempt to keep the issue alive and out of the U.S. court system, where it would continue to be rejected. During the litigation in New York, the judge ruled in favor of Bacardi citing Section 211 of the U.S. 1998 Omnibus Appropriations Act. "Section 211 is entirely consistent with all international treaties and embodies the principles of international law recognized by the U.S. and Europe," said Doug Gibson, Vice President and General Counsel for Bacardi. "These principles provide that an entity should not be recognized as the owner of a trademark if it was stolen from its rightful owner without payment." Gibson also noted that the principles have been recognized repeatedly throughout the Western world -- including Western Europe -- following Russian, German and Cuban expropriations. "However," Gibson emphasized, "the original ruling of the United States District Court that struck down Pernod Ricard's claim to ownership of the Havana Club trademark in the United States occurred in August 1997, well before the October 1998 passage of Section 211." "Section 211 had nothing to do with that decision," Gibson said. "It resulted from the filing of admittedly false statements with the U.S. Government. Fraud, not Section 211, led to the collapse of the Pernod Ricard/Havana Club Holdings' case. The U.S. District Court in New York looked to Section 211 only in its April 1999 decision, where it dismissed the remaining claims by Pernod. As stated, this is a private civil matter, not connected in any way with the WTO." Mr. Gibson said that neither Cuba nor Pernod Ricard ever owned any rights to the trademark; Cuba stole the brand without compensation and had nothing to sell to Pernod. Indeed, Pernod tried to buy the trademark from the rightful owner, the Arechabala family, but was unsuccessful. The Bacardi family founded its rum business in Cuba in 1862 and, similar to the Arechabala family, all of its Cuban assets were expropriated by the Cuban government in 1960. Following 12 years of litigation with the Cuban government, Bacardi was able to regain ownership of all of its international trademarks that Cuba had attempted to expropriate. Bacardi is partnered with the Arechabala family to regain ownership of the Havana Club brand. ots Original Text Service: Bacardi-Arechabala Internet: Contact: Europe: Rory Macrae, 00-32-2- 227-6182 or 00-32-477-439-279 (GSM), or North America: Chris Hayes, 202 333-8542 or Cell: 202-487-8542, both of Edelman Public Relations


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