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GENERAL CIGAR FILES DECLARATORY JUDGMENT LAWSUIT AGAINST FUENTE IN TRADEMARK DISPUTE

All families fight. If you find a family who doesn’t fight, you need to capture it and study it. Figure out what the secret sauce is and then patent it! The cigar family is a tight collection of all walks of life and a diverse multitude of ideas and collectives. So you’re bound to have some fights, growing pains and spats along the way. Titans in the industry aren’t invisible to strife, either.

From the Press Release:

July 12, 2022 (Richmond, VA) – General Cigar Company, the premium cigar subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, announces today that the company has filed a declaratory judgment trademark lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against Fuente Cigar Ltd. and Fuente Marketing Ltd. 

In a demand letter dated July 5, 2022, and subsequent email, Fuente accused General Cigar of infringing various Fuente marks containing the letter X in connection with General Cigar’s recently-launched CAO Bx3 brand. Among other things, Fuente demanded that General Cigar cease distribution of the CAO Bx3 product immediately. As premium cigars smokers will immediately recognize, Fuente’s demand ignored General Cigar’s longstanding use of X as a brand motif in connection with CAO cigars, including CAO Lx2 and CAO Mx2. Most importantly, Fuente ignored the obvious: consumers could never confuse the parties’ respective marks and trade dress. Accordingly, General Cigar filed a federal lawsuit on July 11, 2022, seeking a declaration that CAO Bx3 mark does not infringe any Fuente trademarks.

Régis Broersma, senior vice president of Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s North America Branded and Rest of World Division and president of General Cigar said,

“Given the legislative and legal hurdles facing the premium cigar category today, it is disappointing that Fuente Cigar Ltd. has decided to threaten us with a baseless lawsuit. The fact is that CAO has a series of legacy brands with “X” in their name and their trade dress, including CAO Lx2, CAO Mx2 and others, which have coexisted with Fuente brands for many years. Drawing on legacy CAO font and logo treatments, CAO Bx3 packaging bears the legend “Brazilian times three” while adding modern, brightly colored artwork that evokes the colors of the national and state flags of Brazil. Given these distinctions, consumers will not be confused. We look forward to vindicating our position in federal court.”

Who is General Cigar?

General Cigar Co. Inc., the premium cigar subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, manufactures and markets handcrafted cigars for the premium market. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®, CAO, Punch®, La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur®, Diesel® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists nationwide, and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, please visit www.cigarworld.com.

Who is Scandinavian Tobacco Group?

Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S is a world-leading manufacturer of handmade and machine-rolled cigars with an annual production of more than four billion cigars. The Group holds market-leading positions in several categories and its products are sold in more than 100 markets. Scandinavian Tobacco Group is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and employs approximately 10,000 people globally. The Group is also the largest internet and catalog retailer of cigars and related accessories in the US, where STG has over 1 million active online consumers. For more information, please visit www.st-group.com.

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