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Montecristo v. Tatuaje

The largest cigar company in the world has sued one of the smallest. On Friday, Altadis U.S.A. Inc., filed suit in Miami against Tatuaje Cigars Inc., over its trade dress. The cigarmaker, the world's largest, also sued Tatuaje brand owner Pete Johnson, as well as Tatuaje manufacturer Jose "Pepin" Garcia and his My Father Cigars Inc.

Altadis contends there are too many similarities between the products. "All of defendants' activities have been conducted in an effort to trade on the goodwill associated with plaintiff's trademark, trade dress and trade name rights," read the 28-page lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by Cigar Insider. "Altadis U.S.A. desires to settle the straight forward issues privately amongst the involved parties in an amicable and friendly manner," said Janelle Rosenfeld, vice president of premium cigar marketing and corporate communications for Altadis U.S.A.

"They're just wrong," said Johnson's attorney, Rod S. Berman, referring to Altadis. "This is the classic, huge multibillion dollar conglomerate trying to stifle good American competition by someone who is building a business."

Peter Matos, the attorney for Garcia, said his client was "interested in trailblazing, not following."