Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Bacardi Testifies at Request of Congress in Havana Club Rum Matter
Bacardi executive takes the witness stand as part of the U.S. House of
Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the

At the request of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee,
Rick Wilson, senior vice president for external affairs, with Bacardi,
appeared as a witness at a Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual
Property, and the Internet Congressional hearing earlier today on
“Resolving Issues with Confiscated Property in Cuba, Havana Club Rum and
Other Property.”

The Bacardi executive was invited to provide support to Congress in
investigating the sudden and unexplained decisions of the U.S. Office of
Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
(“PTO”) to authorize Cuba to renew and maintain the Havana Club
trademark registration in the United States. This marked a stunning
reversal as OFAC previously denied the very same license in 2006 as
being contrary to U.S. foreign policy.

Mr. Wilson opened his testimony by saying, “These decisions are
unprecedented and shocking because they undo decades of United States
law and policy by approving Cuba’s efforts to capitalize on, and
traffic, in stolen goods.”

As part of continued efforts to defend the legitimacy of the Bacardi
rights and ownership of Havana Club rum, Mr. Wilson testified to a
history of fraud committed by the Cuban government in obtaining and
renewing the Havana Club registration. Mr. Wilson also explained the
timeline of events leading up to the January 2016 decisions of OFAC and
the PTO which Bacardi contends were done in violation of the language
and spirit of U.S. law – and at a speed which is likely unmatched in the
chronicles of administrative law.

“Courts in the United States have steadfastly held that foreign
confiscations will not be given effect because such confiscations are
‘shocking to our sense of justice,’” added Mr. Wilson on behalf of
family-owned Bacardi, which acquired the rights to Havana Club rum from
the Arechabala family who founded the brand in Cuba in 1878 and ran the
business until it was forcibly confiscated by the Castro regime in 1960.

The Bacardi testimony also reminded the House Judiciary Committee that
the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (“CACR”), which implement the trade
embargo against Cuba, prohibit all transactions involving property,
including trademarks, in which Cuba, or any national thereof, has any
interest of any nature whatsoever, direct or indirect, except as
specifically authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury. The CACR
provided a general license for trademark registration and renewal by
Cuban nationals. However, this allowed a loophole for the Cuban
government to register and renew trademark registrations for marks
created or owned by private businesses in Cuba which were confiscated by
the Castro government. Congress took action to close this loophole by
passing Section 211 of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 1998 which
ensures that the general license in the CACR cannot be used by foreign
states to register marks associated with businesses that were
confiscated without compensation. Section 211 has been critical to the
efforts of the Arechabala’s, Bacardi, and other companies, to ensure
that Cuba does not profit off of stolen property, especially through
U.S. trademark registrations and renewals. Section 211 rescinds the
general license for trademark registration and renewal of marks that
were used in connection with a confiscated business and prohibits courts
from recognizing Cuba’s rights in confiscated property. The purpose of
Section 211 is simple: to deny giving effect to Cuba’s claims to
illegally confiscated property in the United States.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Courts,
Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell
Issa (R-Calif.) issued the following statements on Thursday’s hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “This week the IP subcommittee will examine the
issue of confiscated property in Cuba. The Cuban government, led by
Fidel Castro, has stolen billions in property, including homes and
businesses, owned by Americans and American investors. Perhaps the most
recognized case is that of the Arechabala Family liquor business, which
had its trademark for Havana Club Rum seized by the Cuban government and
then licensed to another company against the family’s wishes. As the
Obama Administration looks to improve relations with Cuba, important
questions remain about how these claims will be satisfied.”

Subcommittee Chairman Issa: “Integrity in our trademark system is
fundamental to property rights in the United States. The decision to
grant the Havana Club trademark to the Cuban government decades after it
was effectively stolen during the revolution is an act that deserves
scrutiny by the Committee.”

Mr. Wilson ended his testimony by stating, “The Cuban government seized
Jose Arechabala S.A. (“JASA”), a viable business with a well-known mark,
and, without any interruption in the business, began making and selling
rum under the Havana Club brand. What occurred was a forcible
confiscation at gunpoint. Pernod Ricard, knowing all of this sordid
history, chose to invest with Cuba in this stolen brand. For decades,
the United States has prevented Cuba and its business partners from
profiting off of the United States Havana Club registration – it should
continue to do so. Well-settled United States law and policy, as
reaffirmed by Section 211, ensures that the United States will always
protect the creators and owners of intellectual property, like JASA and
Bacardi, and not reward an authoritarian state, like Cuba, which uses
force of arms to steal such property and enrich itself at the expense of
its citizens. The sudden and unexplained decision of OFAC and the PTO to
permit Cuba’s renewal of the Havana Club mark flies in the face of these
legal and policy principles.”

Bacardi has been a long-time supporter of trademark rights for
legitimate trademark holders and remains committed to defending the
fundamental rights against confiscations without compensation. The
company supports both legislation and legal action to uphold the
principle of protection of trademarks and ensuring trademarks that have
been confiscated by the Cuban government without the consent of their
rightful owners not be recognized by the international community.

Bacardi will continue to pursue all the necessary legal and other
actions regarding its rights and ownership of Havana Club rum. As the
company has maintained all along, Bacardi is the legitimate owner of the

About the House Judiciary Committee

Established in 1813, the House Judiciary Committee is the second oldest
standing committee in Congress. Today, the Committee is at the forefront
of some of the most significant issues facing our nation, including
protecting constitutional freedoms and civil liberties, oversight of the
U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, legal and regulatory
reform, innovation, competition and anti-trust laws, terrorism and
crime, and immigration reform. The Committee has jurisdiction over all
proposed amendments to the Constitution, and each of its subcommittees
has roots in that document.

About Bacardi

Bacardi, the largest privately held spirits company in the world,
produces and markets internationally recognized spirits and wines. The
company boasts a portfolio of some of the most iconic and top-selling
spirits brands including BACARDÍ® rum, GREY GOOSE® vodka, DEWAR’S®
blended Scotch whisky, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, CAZADORES® 100% blue agave
tequila, MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, and other leading and
emerging brands. Founded 154 years ago in Santiago de Cuba on February
4, 1862, family-owned Bacardi manufactures its brands at 29 facilities
and sells in more than 160 countries. Based in Hamilton, Bermuda,
Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including
Bacardi International Limited.



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Amy Federman, +1-441-294-1110
Jim Gallagher, +1-441-298-1053

Source: Bacardi Testifies at Request of Congress in Havana Club Rum
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