While the United Sates Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated a ruling made by the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in early June that scored a large win for Empresa Cubana del Tabaco–commonly known as Cubatabaco–in the 16-year battle over who owns the Cohiba name, General Cigar Co. has brought the battle to its third round.
In a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court filed on Oct. 31, General Cigar Co. presents a pair of questions to the court. The first is whether or not the Cuban Assets Control Regulations bars a Cuban corporation from obtaining administrative cancellation of a trademark registration that has been held by a U.S. company for more than 30 years, while the second asks whether the Federal Circuit’s categorical rule that a prior judgment in a trademark infringement action that affirms the validity of a trademark registration cannot, as a matter of law, bar the challenger from petitioning an administrative agency for cancellation of the same registration is contrary to established claim preclusion standards.
According to the filing, the fact that the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit and the Federal Circuit reached differing conclusions “raise important questions about the Cuban embargo and the legal standards for claim preclusion that warrant this Court’s review.”
Petitioning for a writ of certiorari is the formal matter in which parties can ask the Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision. Even if a writ of certiorari is granted, which is rare, there is no guarantee the Supreme Court would overturn the lower court’s ruling.
Bloomberg BNA reports that a response is due by Dec. 5.