Ortega Premium Cigars has filed a lawsuit against Reynolds America, Inc. (RAI) over the latter’s use of the name Vibe.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Eddie Ortega, who is the sole owner of Ortega Premium Cigars, Inc., argues that RAI’s Vuse Vibe, an e-cigarette, violates Ortega’s trademark of Vibe, a cigar brand introduced in 2005.
Interestingly, the lawsuit argues that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) deeming regulations actually prove that the two products are likely to be confused as both cigars and e-cigarettes are regulated similarly. The lawsuit also details how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiner twice denied RAI’s attempt to trademark the name due to conflict with Ortega’s Vibe trademark.
Vibe was introduced in 2005 as part of EO Brands, a company Ortega owned in partnership with Erik Espinosa. In 2012, the pair split and the company’s trademarks were divided. Ortega got control of Vibe, Reo and Cubao.
Ortega is being represented by Frank Herrera of H. New Media Law.
Last year, RAI was acquired by British American Tobacco.