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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cuba

Last May 14, 2012, United States Supreme Court denied to the Cuban company Cubaexport the possibility to defend its right to renew the registry of the prestigious brand Havana Club before the United States Patents and Trademark Office, hindered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury, to provide the Cuban commercial entity the license to renew the trademark registered in that country since 1976 to 2006.

Such denial was issued under the protection of Section 211 of Omnibus Appropriations Act sanctioned by the United States Congress  at the end of 1998, prohibiting the recognition and renovations of trademarks associated to properties nationalized by the Cuban Government, as a result of the maneuvers of Miami´s anti-Cuban mafia  and its allies in Congress, in retribution to the huge financial contributions these receive from Bacardi Company, real promoter of these actions against Cubaexport, aimed at seizing the trademarks and market of a genuinely Cuban rum.

Since 1995, Cubaexport, together with French company Pernod Ricards, distributor of rum Havana Club, has defended its right to register such renowned trademark, which was supported by the decision of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Panel that ruled against the United States and requested the elimination of such Section, considered illegal.

The Government of the United States is completely responsible of this situation. During the judicial process  that has arrived to its unjust end, OFAC argued that it would not issue the license needed by the spurious Section 211, that would permitted the renovation of Havana Club trademark in that country, because the Department of State had requested no to do so because this would not correspond with the United States´ policy toward Cuba.

This action constitutes a serious violation of the compromises of the United States on the Industrial Property, which obligates it to protect the trademarks of Cuban companies and institutions. This dispute and other processes against Cuban patents and trademarks in US Courts have evidenced the complicity of the United States Government in the plundering of Cuban rights and trademarks.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands to the Government of the United States to immediately issue the license so the Cuban entity is able to renew Havana Club trademark.

Cuba has invariably respected, without discrimination, the obligations contracted through the international judicial instruments referring to the Industrial Property, which have guaranteed that more than five thousand US trademarks and patents benefit and continue benefiting from their registry in our country.

Should the United States Government do nothing, it will be the sole responsible for the plundering of Havana Club trademark from his legitimate owner, Cubaexport company, and the negative consequences that could derive from this fact  for the reciprocal protection of the Industrial Property.

Havana, May 17, 2012

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