INTENSA Cigars Gets Fired Up Over Competitor's Use of INTENSO.

MIAMI, May 4, 2009 -- The owners of the INTENSA brand of cigars filed a trademark infringement lawsuit today in thr U.S. District Court against a competitor using the brand INTENSO.

Florida's Corona Cigar Company initiated the action by filing a complaint accusing Cigar's International Inc., Keith Meier, Swedish Match North America, Inc., and Quality Importers Trading Co. Inc. of using a trademark confusingly similar to the mark INTENSA.

Corona Cigar claims to using the mark INTENSA at least as early as February, 2000 in connection with cigars. Records maintained by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) indicate that Corona Cigar registered the aforementioned mark on October 21, 2003. The INTENSA mark consists of a red, gold and black color scheme with a word "intensa" in white lettering.

Cigar's International Inc. filed an application to register INTENSO in connection with cigars and smoking related products with the USPTO on July 16, 2007. The Examining Attorney who handled the application refused registration of the basis that it was confusingly similar to the mark INTENSA.

Four days after this initial refusal Cigar's International Inc. filed a new application to register the trademark CU-AVANA INTENSO. The compalint accused Cigar's International Inc. of producing cigars with the CU-AVANA INTENSO mark with a red, gold and black color scheme and the words "cu-avana" only visible upon close inspection.

Generally, the first party to use a trademark has the superior claim of ownership and prohibit others from using an identical or confusing similar mark.

The initial pleading filed by Corona Cigar contains claims of trademark infringement and unfair competition. Corona Cigars is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys fees, destruction of the CU-AVANA INTENSO products, and a permanent injunction prohibiting further use of the mark.

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