My Father Cigar aka J.G.G. Tobacco Holding Company Inc sues Antigua Esteli Tobacco Corp. The Garcia family has filed a lawsuit against the boutique cigar brand over the name Antigua Esteli. According to the claim the name is too close to My Father Cigars brand La Antiguedad.
La Antiguedad & Antigua Esteli
My Father SA released La Antiguedad as the successor for the extremely popular Flor de Las Antillas. And just like the Flor de Las Antillas, It’s an old Cuban brand brought back to life by the Garcia family. But the brand never escaped out of the shadow of its predecessor.
Antigua Esteli was founded by the Los Angeles music artist and executive music producer, and cigar enthusiast Art Garcia. He is not related to the My Father Garcia family, even though they share the family name. Art Garcia came up with the name while driving to Jalapa. He passed the city of Antigua and he loved that name. But the name can also mean ‘old’ or ‘ancient’. And with the name, Garcia wanted to represent the people from Nicaragua, and the beautiful art and crafts of Esteli. Since the cigars are made in Esteli, he named his brand Antigua Esteli.
The Antigua Esteli name has been trademarked by Art Garcia as an adjective with the meaning of old, ancient. My Father Cigars has trademarked La Antiguedad as a noun with the meaning of antique or antiquity.
Response from Antiqua Esteli
A long-time entrepreneur and cigar aficionado Art Garcia’s passion for cigars is rooted in deep family history stemming back at least five generations to his great great grandfather. Having smoked his very first cigar on his fifteenth birthday as a rite of passage to manhood, Garcia’s hard work, dedication and strive for perfection culminated in one of his best accomplishments to date- the 2015 opening of Antigua Esteli Cigars. In 2009, after enjoying great success in the music world, Garcia traveled to Nicaragua and immersed himself in all aspects of the cigar industry from planting and cultivating to combining different tobaccos from various regions to produce a cigar with a balanced blend and superior taste. Taking inspiration from other American entrepreneurs, Garcia hand-picked his team carefully so that from the fields to the factory only those with the same passion and love for the leaf are part of the Antigua Esteli brand. That experience and attention to detail has paid off, and thankfully, not gone unnoticed. Having debuted its first cigar at the 2018 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) trade show and convention in Las Vegas, Antigua Esteli recently won 2019 Best in Show Small Exhibitor at the 2019 IPCPR for its Segovias, a medium- to full-bodied Nicaraguan cigar presented in three different vitolas: Robusto, Torpedo, and Semi Box Press Toro. Antigua Esteli’s cigars, with their volcanic robust taste and aromas, feature a thick and oiled Mexican Maduro San Andres wrapper and an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper. The binders and fillers are composed of hand-selected, top priming grade A Nicaraguan tobacco leaves. Cigar Journal Magazine named Antigua Esteli’s Segovias #5 of Best of Top 10 Cigars for its final issue of 2019 and #12 of Cigar Journal’s Top 25 Cigar of the Year 2019. In addition, Latino Aficionado Magazine named Antigua Esteli’s Segovias Maduro #7 of the Top 10 cigars of the year for 2019.
Notwithstanding this success, in late 2019, Antigua Esteli and Art Garcia were sued by J.G.G. Tobacco Holding Company, Inc. in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida for trademark infringement. The claims brought against Antigua Esteli and Mr. Garcia have no basis, and both Antigua Esteli and Mr. Garcia will vigorously defend the Plaintiff’s unfounded allegations. In the meantime, Antigua Esteli will continue to provide its customers with the highest quality cigars and will continue to serve its customers in the manner by which they have become accustomed under the Antigua Esteli nameOfficial statement from the Antigua Esteli legal team
The question is why My Father Cigars is investing time and energy into legal battles with a small boutique brand. Is it that they feel there is mall intent by Art Garcia? That he’s trying to lift on the success of My Father Cigars by picking a name that shares a little similarity with a My Father SA brand, in combination with the family name? But if that was the case, why would Art Garcia choose to pick the least favorite and critically acclaimed My Father releases from the last few years? And why not go for ‘Flor de las Esteli’ instead? Ministry of Cigars contacted My Father Cigars as well, but they chose not to respond.
Lawsuits in the cigar industry
As cigar geeks, we wish that legal battles like this wouldn’t take place. It divides the cigar industry in a time when we all have to form a front against the wave of legislation that is currently the biggest threat to the cigar industry and culture. And it takes away time and energy that can be spent on making new, exciting, cigars. Currently, there are more open cases, such as Guantanamera Cigar Company vs Royal Agio cigars over the name Dueto and the long-lasting cases between Habanos and General Cigars about the Cohiba trademark.