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Court upholds conviction in Cuban cigar case

A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Florida man for selling counterfeit Cuban cigars under trademarks registered in the United States after Fidel Castro took power.

Juan Jose Penton claimed he did nothing illegal because his shop sold replica "Cuban" brands taken over when Castro nationalized cigar manufacturers in 1960. The Cuban trademarks are not recognized in this country, but the names are also owned by companies registered here.

A jury convicted Penton of violating the Trademark Counterfeiting Act after he sold 60 boxes of cigars in October 2005 to a Miami-Dade undercover officer, including purported Cohiba Esplendidos and Montecristo products. He was sentenced to five years probation and fined $7,500.

An 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld the conviction Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Court upholds conviction in Cuban cigar case