Cuba Condemns U.S. Disrespect for Havana Club Trademark

According to Granma, regardless of the fact that the dispute resolution panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) described as illegal the U.S. law known as Section 211, which denies Cuban owners their rights to trademarks and commercial names, the U.S. is still violating aspects of widely recognized intellectual property rights related to commerce.

Cuba has reaffirmed its condemnation of the United States government, given the Supreme Court’s decision to deny the Cubaexport company the right to defend its ownership of the Havana Club trademark within the country.

This issue was the subject of a teleconference held between Paris and Havana with the participation of officials, experts and representatives of Cuba Ron and Pernod Ricard, the French company which distributes Havana Club rums internationally.

“The foundation of what we are discussing here today is the economic, commercial and financial (U.S.) blockade of Cuba, which has been condemned by the UN General Assembly for 20 consecutive years. We therefore believe, first and foremost, that the solution lies in ending this blockade,” said Abelardo Moreno, Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Juan González, president of the Cuba Ron S. A corporation, recalled that in January, 2002, the dispute resolution panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) described as illegal the U.S. law known as Section 211, which denies Cuban owners, and their representatives, recognition of their rights to trademarks and commercial names. The panel stated that this regulation violates aspects of widely recognized intellectual property rights related to commerce.

“We insist that the United States government abide by WTO decisions,” Olivia Lagache, legal representative of Havana Club International, affirmed in France.

The U.S. has failed to comply with the Paris Convention on intellectual property, in place since 1883, Moreno said, “There have been a series of violations and ongoing non-compliance, among which this last episode is definitive and perhaps the most serious,” he emphasized.

Alina Revilla, director of the international bodies department within the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment, explained that the U.S. government’s responses are increasingly vague as to actions being taken to eliminate or repeal Section 211. “The ultimate objective is to deny Cuba its most elemental rights,” the specialist said.

Over the last two years, Moreno reported, the Cuban government has sent a series of important diplomatic notes to U.S. authorities inquiring about the registration of the Havana Club trademark.

The Deputy Minister pointed out that, since the Cuban government has addressed U.S. government entities, this process has been of an official nature. More so, given that governmental decisions have affected the judicial proceedings. The State Department and the Treasury, both executive bodies, not judicial, have been involved.

“Cuba will continue to fight along with its Pernord Ricard colleagues, and we will continue to denounce the arbitrary nature of this decision anywhere we can and reserve the right to take any action, or implement measures we consider necessary at any given moment,” Moreno concluded.

For original article, see http://www.granma.cu/ingles/cuba-i/7jun-Havana-Club.html

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