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David Friedland of Friedland Vining in Miami.David Friedland of Friedland Vining in Miami. (Courtesy photo)

In June, President Donald Trump unveiled his plans to scale back the U.S. policy toward Cuba, announcing that he was “cancelling the last administration’s completely one-sided deal” with the country. The move has implications for trademark owners, although in many respects overall strategies shouldn’t change—particularly in those situations where brand-owning companies are faced with third parties trying to hijack their valuable trademarks and other intellectual property in Cuba.

The National Security Presidential Memorandum on Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba requires the secretary of state to “identify the entities or sub-entities that are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel,” with direct financial transactions with such entities to be prohibited (with some exceptions).

When President Barack Obama restored full diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014, various trademark opportunities were brought to light, both in terms of long-dormant U.S. brands re-establishing a presence in Cuba and the prospect of Cuban brands entering the U.S. market for the first time in over a half century. President Trump’s latest policy announcement has implications for both, and brand owners should ensure that the right strategies are being implemented both in the United States and especially in Cuba.

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