US: US to comply with Havana Club ruling
The United States government has informed the disputes settlement body of the World Trade Organisation that it "intended to comply" with the final Havana Club ruling issued at the start of this year, although it warned diplomats that it "would require for that purpose a reasonable period of time."
Talks on timetabling will now be held with the European Union, whose representatives told the meeting that "the US should comply as soon as possible," adding that they were indeed "willing to discuss" deadlines with Washington.
The appellate body of the WTO last month found that the US had broken world fair trading laws by blocking Pernod-Ricard from using the American courts to fight rival Bacardi's use of the Havana Club rum brand.
Pernod had secured American trademark rights in a joint venture with Cuba's Havana Rum and Liquors; but because the mark had been relinquished by its original owner Jose Arechebala, S.A., a victim of the 1959 Cuban revolution, they could not enforce these rights in court under the US Omnibus Appropriations Act.
The WTO tribunal ruled that the act treated Cuban companies unfairly, (and by extension their business partners), breaking the WTO's key most favoured nation and national discrimination principles.
Brussels welcomed the decision claiming it extended the protection of the WTO trade related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) agreement to trade names.
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