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U.S. Legislators Push Obama Administration For Answers On Havana Club Decision

February 11, 2016

Congressional lawmakers from both parties have sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew expressing concern over the Obama administration’s recent decision to award the Havana Club rum trademark to the Cuban government, reports the Wall Street Journal. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-FL) and Debbie Wasserman (D.-FL) and 23 other lawmakers, a majority of whom represent Florida, say the move may undermine protections for U.S. intellectual property rights holders. Last month, the Office of Foreign Assets Control granted a license to state-run Cubaexport for renewal of an expired trademark registration for Havana Club, reopening a long-running battle between Bacardi Ltd. and the Cuban government over use of the trademark in the U.S. The latest decision allows Cubaexport to sell Cuban-made Havana Club in the U.S. if the economic embargo on Cuba is lifted. With the U.S. and Cuba re-establishing relations in late 2014, the removal of the embargo appears likely to occur in the coming years.

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