Trademark wars to light up cigars, rum in post-embargo Cuba

A cigar may be just a cigar sometimes, but when's a Cohiba a Cohiba? Any devotee of the leaf is aware of the existence of parallel brands. A Montecristo in Manhattan is not the same as a Montecristo in Havana. Nearly five decades of isolation have led to two separate worlds, and an end to the Cuban embargo could lead to trademark mayhem for the decades to follow.

And, it's not just cigars. Many products, including rum and coffee, may wind up in some combination of confusion and litigation in a post-embargo marketplace. In the case of Havana Club, which exists in different form inside and outside Cuba, this is already in the works, with more than 10 years of legal sparring.