The US Supreme Court on Monday handed victory to a state-run Cuban cigar company in its long-running standoff with an American arch rival.
The highest court in the United States declined to hear the appeal of the Delaware-based General Cigar, leaving intact a ruling in favor of Cuba's Empresa Cubana del Tabaco, or Cubatabaco.
The decision comes two months after an announcement by President Barack Obama that Washington and Havana will seek to normalize relations, including the easing of a decades-long trade embargo with Cuba.
The hard-fought case concerns cigars with the famous Cohiba trademark that both companies use.
General Cigar, the US subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group, sells cigars under that name on US soil. The cigars are produced in the Dominican Republic.
But its Cuban rival sells cigars also called Cohiba, though it cannot do so in the United States because of the longstanding trade embargo.
The dispute was centered on whether the Cuban firm has the right to challenge General Cigar's trademark in the United States, despite the embargo.
The case will now move forward to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.