Protecting Your Brands In New Markets: Iran And Cuba

Author:Mr Thomas Brooke and Jessica E Lanier
Profession:Holland & Knight
 
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Thomas W. Brooke is a Partner in our Washington, D.C. office and Jessica E. Lanier is an Associate in our San Francisco office.

HIGHLIGHTS:

For companies based in the United States, doing business in Cuba and Iran is no longer a completely far-fetched notion. Your business may not have any plans for expanding into either of these countries, however, knowing the laws and policies governing brand protection in each country can ensure that your brand is not exploited by third parties in these markets. U.S. businesses have always been able to protect their trademarks in Iran and Cuba. Even with trade restrictions, both countries incorporate carve-outs to enable entities and individuals to protect their intellectual property rights in Iran and Cuba. For companies based in the United States, doing business in Cuba and Iran is no longer a completely far-fetched notion. In Cuba, the relaxing of the embargo promises to make this island neighbor of the U.S. available for commercial enterprises. In addition, the proposed nuclear treaty with Iran presently under discussion signifies a potentially more accessible marketplace. Your business may not have any plans for expanding into either of these countries, however, knowing the laws and policies governing brand protection in each country can ensure that your brand is not exploited by third parties in these markets. If your business does have plans to expand into one or both of these markets, you can decide if you want to provide permission to other entities to promote your brand.

The Present Sanctions Regime

The present U.S. sanctions and embargo regime includes dozens of countries. In most cases, Iran and Cuba included, these trade restrictions incorporate carve-outs to enable entities and individuals to protect their intellectual property rights in each country. The carve-outs protect:

filing and prosecuting trademark applications receiving and maintaining trademark protection filing oppositions to other registrations retaining local agents to conduct these activities in order to protect one's brand U.S. businesses have always been able to protect their trademarks in Iran and Cuba. Therefore, even if certain trade restrictions remain against Cuba (or are re-imposed) and/or the much-debated deal with Iran falls through (or evolves), taking action to protect your brand in each country is not only permissible - it is a wise business decision.

Registering a Trademark in Iran

Iran's trademark...

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