Bipartisan Lawmakers Question Obama's Decision to Give Stolen Trademark to Cuba

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz Lead Bipartisan Letter To Secretaries Kerry and Lew Asking Why OFAC Granted Havana Club Trademark License To Castro Regime-Owned Cubaexport

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and nearly two dozen other Members on both sides of the aisle sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry standing up for American intellectual property rights and asking why the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has departed from its previous positions and granted a license for the Havana Club trademark to Castro-regime owned Cubaexport.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m pleased to lead this bipartisan letter to voice my opposition to the decision of State and Treasury to allow Cubaexport, an entity owned by the Castro regime, to renew an expired trademark registration for Havana Club rum in contravention of U.S. law. Let me be clear: this original family’s factories and trademarks were confiscated by the Castro regime and the U.S. government should not take any action which would embolden any foreign entity that could confiscate U.S. trademarks and intellectual property. This politically motivated decision could unfortunately serve as a negative precedent regarding the expropriation of U.S. based intellectual property by foreign governments.”

Statement by Wasserman Schultz: “I’ve been firmly committed to protecting the intellectual property rights of American companies, and I was pleased to join this letter with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and many of my Florida colleagues. We must ensure American companies’ trademarks are protected against confiscation by any foreign government. I’ve cosponsored legislation in the past two congresses to work on this issue, and I’ve worked on intellectual property matters extensively in my role as Ranking Member on the Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee.”

To view the letter click here

Members of Congress joining Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz in signing the bipartisan letter were: Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Jeff Miller (R-FL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).