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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
United Tobacco, EO Brands Series X and Fuente feud over trade mark infringements.

I was going to put this up about a week ago but I wanted to check my information first and to find out about my own business liability. I am putting this here in the Cigar Forum instead of the Retailer Forum because I am writing this both as a retailer and private person outraged at this situation.

A week ago I received a letter from the Oliva Cigar Company generally stating what I have been telling customers who purchased the Series X cigar produced by United Tobacco, EO Brands; that although the Oliva Family allowed United Tobacco to state in advertising that their new cigar was made in the Oliva Factory, Oliva had no other association with the brand. This is true and was confirmed by Eddie Ortega of United Tobacco. Be that as it may, the Oliva Family in this letter states that they will no longer produce this brand since receiving a Cease and Desist order from the Fuente Family for trade mark infringements.

I called Eddie Ortega for information but he could not speak openly about this since there will be a counter suit; however, I did know where to go for some very close hearsay information. Fact is, in a nut shell, the Fuentes has issued this Cease and Desist order due to United Tobaccos use of the letter X in its name. Understand the brand trade mark Series X is a registered trade mark and was accepted by the government agency that handles these things. No infringement was found when the registration went in and United Tobacco was granted sole use of the name Series X.

Eddie Ortega and his partner Eric Espinoza took this matter to a law firm for advice and investigation and evidence shows that United Tobacco had every legal right to use the trade mark Series X. A letter cannot be trade marked but if it incorporates a specific design, the design can be trade marked. At the time of initial investigation by the law firm there was no trade mark design for the letter X on file. Trade mark registration of the Fuente Opus X design apparently went into effect one or two weeks after sending the Cease and Desist order making the design after the fact, as it was explained to me. (I don’t know how much of this paragraph is accurate).

It would appear that the Fuentes, a huge player in the cigar industry, needs to flex muscle taking on small cigar companies seemingly to protect a world wide known trade mark that looks nothing like the Series X. Is this Goliath going after David? In the case of Opus X vs. Mondavi Opus I, as I remember the conclusion by the judge was that he didn’t believe anyone would confuse a bottle of wine with a cigar and if his decision would go in favor or either company no composer in the future could write a music score utilizing the designation of opus I or opus X in Roman Numeral. The case was a push. (Pretty sure this was the determination by the court).

In any event and regardless of the outcome Oliva will not produce this brand for United Tobacco and the Series X may go into the realm of a collectors item. I do know that Eddie Ortega is now looking for a new factory and will not be daunted by this event. They intend to continue producing this blend and are looking for a factory to do this but the cigar will no doubt have a new name.

My reason for posting this has to do with my stating to a number of you who purchased and re purchased the Series X and asked me about the rumors regarding Fuente going after United Tobacco and my saying I didn’t believe Fuente would bother with something so trivial. Guess I was wrong; my apologies to those who agreed with my assessment of this situation. mb

(Disclaimer: all information gathered to write this letter is information I gathered from sources out side of United Tobacco or the Oliva Family and is for informational purpose only. Any opinions expressed are my own as a member of the general cigar population and industry).
 

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What would Skeeter do?
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Dang I've got most of a box of these sittin' in the fridgeador! Wonder what an unopened box would be worth?
BTW, I don't really see what the big deal is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
kansashat said:
Dang I've got most of a box of these sittin' in the fridgeador! Wonder what an unopened box would be worth?
BTW, I don't really see what the big deal is.
I know Eddie Ortega personally and worked directly with him for almost two years. I can tell you there was never any intention to gain any benefit from that other brand with the X. The original intention of the Symbol of the X was X marks the spot or something like that. Meaning that finally someone found a great cigar. Apparently the Fuentes think anyone using an X in their name is a big deal. Wonder what would happen if they ever moved to Greece? :D mb
 

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uncle mikey said:
I know Eddie Ortega personally and worked directly with him for almost two years. I can tell you there was never any intention to gain any benefit from that other brand with the X. The original intention of the Symbol of the X was X marks the spot or something like that. Meaning that finally someone found a great cigar. Apparently the Fuentes think anyone using an X in their name is a big deal. Wonder what would happen if they ever moved to Greece? :D mb
I also recived this letter from Oliva, I don't see what the big deal is about. Sure the Opus X is a good cigar , but I think very over rated. There are plenty of cigars out there at 1/4 the price and just as good or Better. I have smoked alot of opus and never hads a screamimg orgasm afterwards. I own a cigar shop and have people come in all the time and ask for opus X and when I tell them I am all sold out, they shrug their sholders and usally end up buying a 3 or 4 dollar cigar, I think it's all hype. since I have only ben in business for a year when you try to get any Opus from the sales rep, you would think you ask for his wife or first born child. Granted I would like to sell these but if I can't I will still survive, but I also wont carry some of their cheaper brands either . It works both ways.
Bobby
 

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i don't see what the big deal is. it's a letter X. and if my memory serves me correctly, the BANDS look nothing alike... how could anyone confuse the 2?

while i only have 1 series X (thanks to a gift), and have yet to smoke it, i doubt anyone could confuse a highly overpriced/overrated Opus X for the same thing?

ah well... that's life.
btw - thanks for the info.
 

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Still Smitty's biotch!
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Thanks for the information Uncle Mikey! Have you filled in other cigar communties as well? I am really upset over this. I have sent the following message to [email protected]. If anyone has addresses for Carlos, Carlito, or any of the Newmans post them here. I suggest the cigar community as a whole lets the Fuentes know this simply isn't acceptable behaviour. I will let you all know if I get anything back other than a typical corporate response.

-Matt-

-=-=-=-==--=--=-=-=-==-=-=--=
To: [email protected]
Subject: Shame on YOU!

I have been a big fan of Fuente cigars and have been smoking them for the better part of 13 years now. I am appalled at the company's decision to file a trade mark infringement law suit against United tobacco. It is ludicrous your company feels they own the letter X when applied to cigars. Someone at your company needs to seriously consider how this action will alienate cigar smokers like myself. The Oliva family is no longer going to produce this fine cigar which is a shame. Let me say it again, Shame on you cigar family.

Regards,
Matthew D. Blickensderfer
McKinney, TX
[email protected]
(I post as TXMatt on the cigar message forums Cigarpass.com, ClubStogie.com, HerfersParadise.com, CigarSnobs.com, CigarUtopia.com, and BOTL.org)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Smoker840 said:
I also recived this letter from Oliva, I don't see what the big deal is about. Sure the Opus X is a good cigar , but I think very over rated. There are plenty of cigars out there at 1/4 the price and just as good or Better. I have smoked alot of opus and never hads a screamimg orgasm afterwards. I own a cigar shop and have people come in all the time and ask for opus X and when I tell them I am all sold out, they shrug their sholders and usally end up buying a 3 or 4 dollar cigar, I think it's all hype. since I have only ben in business for a year when you try to get any Opus from the sales rep, you would think you ask for his wife or first born child. Granted I would like to sell these but if I can't I will still survive, but I also wont carry some of their cheaper brands either . It works both ways.
Bobby
Bobby, It it foolishness on the part of the smoker but consider this as a new retailer. In many cases the band not the cigar validates the smokers experience. In other words it doesn't matter if the smoker likes the cigar it only matter if someone sees this person smoking this band they will think an expert is in the room. Nonesense.

I have many smokers coming into the shop asking for Fuente cigars and I turn them on to a variety of Cameroon wrapped smokes that are, in my not so humble opinion, better smokes and better values. When they come back to obtain more of my selections I know I have done them a favor and opened their eyes to other brands which are just as good and perhaps more economical.

I recall once going to a Fuente Family event in Tampa when I still lived in Florida. Carlito stood at the podium telling us a story how the tobacco industry and his company was so family oriented. He just about broke out into tears. Of course he was smoking a Fuente Fuente Opus X and had to relight that thing a hundred times during his little speach. I've not been able to keep one lit during continuous smoking ever. I'm not saying they are bad cigars but for strength and flavor give me a Lone Wolfe Lobo Fuerte any day. mb
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
txmatt said:
Thanks for the information Uncle Mikey! Have you filled in other cigar communties as well? I am really upset over this. I have sent the following message to [email protected]. If anyone has addresses for Carlos, Carlito, or any of the Newmans post them here. I suggest the cigar community as a whole lets the Fuentes know this simply isn't acceptable behaviour. I will let you all know if I get anything back other than a typical corporate response.

-Matt-

-=-=-=-==--=--=-=-=-==-=-=--=
To: [email protected]
Subject: Shame on YOU!

I have been a big fan of Fuente cigars and have been smoking them for the better part of 13 years now. I am appalled at the company's decision to file a trade mark infringement law suit against United tobacco. It is ludicrous your company feels they own the letter X when applied to cigars. Someone at your company needs to seriously consider how this action will alienate cigar smokers like myself. The Oliva family is no longer going to produce this fine cigar which is a shame. Let me say it again, Shame on you cigar family.

Regards,
Matthew D. Blickensderfer
McKinney, TX
[email protected]
(I post as TXMatt on the cigar message forums Cigarpass.com, ClubStogie.com, HerfersParadise.com, CigarSnobs.com, CigarUtopia.com, and BOTL.org)
Matt, I have indeed sent this to other forums and to play devils advocate here for a minute it has been suggested that a company should do everything to protect its trade mark. I agree with this in principle but I think the Fuentes are overdoing it in this case. There are cigars that utilize the X as well. Vega Estate X, Randallo X and others. As you state the logo for the Seriex X by United Tobacco looks nothing like the Opus X logo as is in the case of the other two I mention above. Why no action agains these two?

I think you note to the Fuentes is concise and to the point but I have also been told that advertising, even negitive advertising is good. mb
 

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http://www.bonitasmokeshop.com/New_Folder/SerXSC1.JPG

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=jqm8nc.2.33

Another one you might recognize .....

http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=jqm8nc.6.49

There are over 9000 tradenames or trademarks with X in them, for example:

15 79000289 X TARR LIVE
16 79005217 MADAM X TARR LIVE
17 79005097 X LAM TARR LIVE
18 79004810 A X ARMANI EXCHANGE TARR LIVE
19 79002783 E X F M TARR LIVE
20 79003516 X-ACT TARR LIVE
21 79004041 XSTART TARR LIVE
22 79003505 CHALLENGE X TARR LIVE
23 79003298 X4-TECH TARR LIVE
24 79003222 MIRA X DENT TARR LIVE
25 79002997 X-TAS-Y TARR LIVE
26 79001632 X-TRACKER

There are 262 with Opus in the name.

Fuente is just being a bully, shame on them. They have Opus X trademarked, no consumer will confuse that name with Series X or Fiat X19 for that matter.
 

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Still Smitty's biotch!
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That is all the more reason they shouldn't be pulling this stunt. The fact the big bully Mondavi put the poor little Fuente family through this 10 years ago should let them realize how assinine their behaviour is.

Particularly amusing are these quotes from Carlos Jr.:

"At least, I pray to God that it's over and I pray to God that no other tobacco family has to be faced with this."

"The cigar business is not about legal matters. The cigar business is about families, about people who have their hearts in the business, people that sleep, breathe, live and dream tobacco."

It seems hypocrite can now be spelled "Fuente"
 

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I just spoke with the head of the Fuente Boycott over the United Tobacco Debacle Association or FBUTDA.

He has appointed me to dispose of all of the fuente products that you all no longer wish to smke to show solidarty with your United Tobacco Brothers.

Please send all of your unsmoked Fuente sticks To:

FBUTDA
c/o Kamikaiguy
1492 United We Stand Blvd.
Fuente Monarchy, D.C. 00045-1234
 

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Is anyone 100% sure this about just the "X" in the name?? Fuente produced a limited edition humidor with a vitola named Opus X Series X in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Matt R said:
Is anyone 100% sure this about just the "X" in the name?? Fuente produced a limited edition humidor with a vitola named Opus X Series X in it.
MattR I asked that question and there is no mention in the Cease and Desist order about the humidor. Just the X as a trade infringement. mb
 
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