Relaxation of sanctions associated with trade and travel to Cuba has many Americans dreaming of their next holiday to the longtime forbidden island. But for U.S. brand owners, increased opportunities to conduct business in Cuba also brings opportunities for trademark hijackers to take advantage of Cuba’s “first to file” system and obtain unauthorized rights to U.S. brands. U.S. brand owners need to consider taking steps now to protect their brands and enforce their rights against entrepreneur-ial trademark pirates and counterfeiters in Cuba.
Rachelle Dubow, partner in the intellectual property group at Morgan Lewis, talks about the need for clients to pay particular attention to protecting their intellectual property rights as America normalizes diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba. Dubow explains that because Cuba is a first to file country and trademarks are jurisdictionally based, a significant number of 'trademark hijackers' have registered the trademarks of multinational corporations in the hopes of extracting sizable payments.