Posted on Sat, Aug. 26, 2006
Bacardi’s brand was `confiscated’
The Aug. 20 article Trouble with trademarks missed the critical point
that the Havana Club brand was confiscated, unlike the other brands listed.
The National Foreign Trade Council is not impartial. It supports
business in Cuba on behalf of its clients. The article did not feature
any well-regarded experts who believe in protecting
intellectual-property rights and unlawful confiscations.
Cuba has neither the means nor infrastructure to produce any counterfeit
products without willing partners. No civilized country would recognize
these fakes; and, most important, it is not in the Cuban government’s
selfish interest to confiscate these other brands because it wants the
fees from registration and prospective business. Such action would
further isolate it.
It’s euphemistic to call the seizure of the Havana Club brand
nationalization. That obscures the fact that the brand was confiscated
and that no compensation was ever paid. U.S. courts have ruled that the
brand was “confiscated without compensation.”
Only critics call Section 211 the ”Bacardi bill.” The Section 211
statute merely applies and codifies the long-recognized principle that
an entity has no power to confiscate property beyond its borders and
that, consequently, other entities will not give effect to such
confiscations within their territories. This principle has been
uniformly applied by the courts in Western Europe and the United States
following the Soviet, Nazi, Eastern European and Cuban confiscations.
Other companies have benefited, and Bacardi has won every U.S. court
case on this issue.
PATRICIA M. NEAL, vice-president, corporate communications,
Bacardi-Martini, Inc., Coral Gables