WTO panel rules on EU appeal to Cuban rum decision.WASHINGTON -- An appellate panel of the World Trade Organization ruled a US law that prohibited a Cuban-French rum joint venture from protecting its US trademark must be amended.
But the Jan. 2 ruling on an appeal of an earlier decision by the WTO See World Trade Organization. did not give either party in the dispute a clear victory. Even though both sides had sought a review.
Havana Club This article is about a rum made in Cuba. For the rum of the same name made by Bacardi in Puerto Rico and sold in the United States only, see Havana Club (Bacardi).
Havana Club is a brand of rum, made in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. Holdings, a joint venture between the Cuban government and Pernod Ricard Pernod Ricard (Euronext: RI) is a French company producing alcoholic beverages. Their most famous product, Pernod Anise (40% alcoholic volume) and Ricard Pastis, are both pastis, and often referred to as simply Ricard or Pernod. that produces premium Havana Club Rum, was hoping that the European Union's challenge to a US law known as Section 211 would result in its repeal. The 1998 law prohibits US courts from recognizing the rights of Cuban-origin trademarks that have been nationalized by Fidel Castro's government.
The WTO appellate body The Appellate Body of the WTO is a standing body of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by Panels in disputes brought by WTO Members. It was established in 1995 under Article 17 of the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of ruled the law was inconsistent under the WTO Agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property right, known as TRIPS, because it treated Cuba differently from Americans and nationals of other WTO-member nations. It did not rule that nationalized trademarks had a right to protection, as Havana Club Holdings had hoped, but said the law must be broadened to include expropriated ex·pro·pri·ate
tr.v. ex·pro·pri·at·ed, ex·pro·pri·at·ing, ex·pro·pri·ates
1. To deprive of possession: expropriated the property owners who lived in the path of the new highway. trademarks from all countries and that the law must apply to Americans as well.
An EU statement issued in Brussels called the appellate decision favorable because it reversed the Aug. 6 decision of a three-judge WTO panel that trade names are not covered not covered Health care adjective Referring to a procedure, test or other health service to which a policy holder or insurance beneficiary is not entitled under the terms of the policy or payment system–eg, Medicare. Cf Covered. under TRIPS.
Bacardi-Martin I also hailed the ruling because it did not say Section 211, in its entirety, violated international law.
Meanwhile, Havana Club Holdings, and its European Union European Union (EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the
European Community partner in the dispute, hope the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. will find broadening of the law impractical and decide to scrap it altogether. But it seems more likely that the United States will try to ignore the ruling as for long as it can, even though it must agree with the EU on a period for Washington to make the changes needed to meet WTO rules.
The appellate decision--which is final--also dealt Havana Club Holdings a blow by overturning the first WTO panels finding that Section 211 violated international trade law because it denied trademark owners access to courts to enforce their intellectual property rights.
Promoted by Bacardi-Martini, Section 211 was aimed only at the Havana Club name, which Bacardi-Martini claims was "stolen" from the Arechabala family that once produced a rum under the same name in Cuba.
Havana Club Holdings, however, maintains the Arechabalas allowed the trademark to lapse in the United States and other countries and that it legally registered the name in the United States. The joint venture hoped to be able to sell its rum in the United States when the embargo is lifted.