Spanish court backs Pernod in Bacardi dispute

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French drinks maker Pernod Ricard said Spain's supreme court Thursday had ruled in its favour in a dispute over the use of the Havana Club brand in Spain.

The court confirmed that the company Havana Club "holds the rights to the Havana Club brand in Spain," Pernod said in a statement.

It was the third time that a Spanish court had rejected claims of the Bacardi over the brand, it said.

"Bacardi deliberately tried to take over the success of a brand that we have developed since 1993," the head of Pernod Ricard Spain, Philippe Coutin, said in the statement.

"The ruling allows us to continue to develop our range of authentic Cuban rums on the Spanish market," he said.

The dispute goes back to 1999 when the Bermuda-based American group took legal action to seek ownership of the brand in Spain.

Havana Club is made in Cuba in a joint venture between Pernod Ricard, the world's number two drinks maker after Britain's Diageo, and the Cuban group Cuba Ron.

A separate but similar dispute in the United States involves Pernod and Bacardi, which markets Havana Club in that country.

A US court in April last year allowed Bacardi to keep using the Havana Club name for its rum distilled in Puerto Rico, but Pernod has appealed.

© 2011 AFP

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