There's rum. And then there's Havana Club.

It's a lighter style rum, distinctly Cuban.

But the label on the bottle and that word "Havana" may be just as important as what's inside the bottle.

Havana Club is a celebrated rum and a celebrated brand. So celebrated that powerful people are fighting over it: the distillers at Bacardi Limited and the Cuban government.

They've been locked in a long-running legal battle for control of the "Havana Club" brand.

Recently though, the US Patent and Trademark Office said the name "Havana Club" is Cuba's to keep. But history goes back father than this current ruling. 

"The Havana Club trademark belonged to an old Cuban rum-making family. Their name was Arechabala," says Mimi Whitefield, Cuba correspondent for the Miami Herald. "After the revolution they went into exile. The trademark lapsed in 1973. And in 1976, Cuba, seeing opportunity, registered the Havana Club trademark in the United States. Every 10 years they would renew that trademark registration."

But in the 1990s, the situation got complex.

The Bacardi family bought the Havana Club name from the Arechabalas, and started selling their own Havana Club in select US states.

The Cuban government challenged the move.

And the case had been kicking around until this recent US decision in Cuba's favor.

The house of Bacardi, naturally, vows to fight it, saying it will "take every means available" to do so.

The battle is far from over.

"Immediately, it doesn't mean anything," says Whitefield. "But going forward — when there is no longer an embargo — it's all about marketshare in the world's largest rum market."

That being the US. And that's why this fight isn't over.

Who knows?

Maybe we're about to see the famed rum and Coke — the Cuba libre — get a little more libre.

From PRI's The World ©2015 Public Radio International