Features

Cuba – possible trademark troll?

By Jaime R Angeles

As political relations between Cuba and the United States look set to thaw, many businesses are considering the commercial opportunities that might result from this new situation. Unfortunately, this has prompted a rush of Cuban applications for well-known US trademarks

Relations between the United States and Cuba reached their nadir in the early 1960s. By 1960, Fidel Castro’s government had seized private land, nationalised hundreds of private companies – including several local subsidiaries of US corporations – and heavily taxed US products. The Eisenhower administration responded by imposing trade restrictions on all Cuban imports, except for food and medical supplies. The expansion of Soviet Union trade with Cuba prompted the United States to cut all diplomatic ties – the two countries have been talking through Switzerland ever since. President Kennedy then issued a permanent embargo on February 7 1962 (directly after ordering a shipment of 1,200 Cuban cigars for himself). Kennedy also oversaw the failed Bay of Pigs operation in April 1961, while the 13-day showdown over Soviet missiles installed in Cuba the following year cemented the country’s status as ground zero in the Cold War.

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Issue 71