Call for U-turn over HAVANA CLUB trademark renewal

A bipartisan congressional delegation has called on the Trump administration to reverse a US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) decision to grant a licence allowing Cubaexport to renew the HAVANA CLUB trademark registration in the United States.

In 2006 OFAC prevented the Cuban state company from renewing its registration by retroactively applying Section 211 of the US Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998 (which forbids the registration or enforcement of a trademark in the United States that is identical or similar to one used in connection with a business or assets that were expropriated). In December 2014 President Obama ordered the restoration of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and in January 2016 came the news that Cuban state company Cubaexport had received a licence allowing it to renew its HAVANA CLUB registration in the United States.

In this latest development, 25 members of Congress have called for a review and explanation of OFAC’s move, stating that the “decision to grant a licence to Cubaexport to renew an expired trademark places an illegally-obtained and expired trademark back in the hands of the regime that illegally confiscated it”.

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