On Tuesday, September 17, Iconic Leaf Cigars LLC filed a trademark suit against Vintage Cigar Distributors of New England, the New Hampshire company owned by Kurt A. Kendall, over what they claim is an infringement over the use of an image of a spider on cigars.
Iconic Leaf Cigars manufactures the Recluse (reviewed here), which debuted at the 2012 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show before being released to the market in October 2012. In March 2013, they announced a new addition to the Recluse line, the Draconian, which would be unveiled at the 2013 IPCPR show.
In late June, just weeks before the IPCPR trade show, Kendall announced that the Spider would be going into regular production after well over a year of market testing and fine tweaking. The Spider imagery comes from a 1930s cigar that originated in Somesworth, N.H., and the glass top humidor the cigars are shipped in features the original cigar’s artwork.
In regards to the spider imagery, Iconic Leaf says that it was the first to obtain the mark and Kendall’s use of the image creates confusion among cigar consumers. The complaint goes onto say that the “Defendants’ infringement was either willful or with reckless disregard of Iconic Leaf’s rights,” and that “Defendants continued with their infringing ‘Spider’ and spider-design branded products in light of the cease-and-desist letters sent to them informing them of Iconic Leaf’s rights.”
The suit seeks to prevent the trademark and production of Vintage’s Spider brand, and that all gains from Kendall’s Spider be awarded as damages, as well as to recoup attorney’s fees.
Iconic Leaf registered the Spider trademark on March 12, 2012, while Kendall filed “K.A. Kendall’s Spider” for trademark on November 29, 2012.
Iconic Leaf is being represented in the case by Frank Herrera of H New Media Law, who is also a cigar maker and has released the La Caridad del Cobre and Herrera Biography lines. Herrera is also listed as the Attorney of Record in their trademark filings.