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Trade mark trolls in Cuba

Written by Mekael Rahman on 26 April 2017

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Jaime Ángeles (Angeles Pons) has recently furnished an update on the problem of trade mark trolls in Cuba. He articulated the following:

“In a post in March 2015 we discussed how the Cuban trade mark system had been invaded by numerous trade mark applications (at least 90 fillings, although the actual number might be around 100) by NON-owners of signs similar to registered US trade marks, most of them very well-known (and some including words and designs alike). Applicants have been Cuban citizens, US companies, and even Dominican Republic citizens.

Cuba is a country with a first-to-file regime and opposition process, and most of the real owners of the trade marks have filed oppositions to defend their rights. The first Cuban citizen that filed for several trade marks was Gustavo Fuentes Ledo. He filed applications for 66 trade marks, 39 of them were subject to a formal opposition.

In the latest publication of the Cuban Trademark Office (OCPI) (30 March) one could see the several appeals filed by Fuentes Ledo (arguably the first Cuban trade mark troll). The OCPI denied his applications on grounds of unfair competition and bad faith.”

Imperative points that were considered by the OCPI are listed below:

  • Fuentes Ledo (the applicant) had filed for 66 different trade marks between June 2014 and January 2015 in twenty different classes.
  • An internet search revealed that all the trade marks filed by the applicant were “very similar” to those used by third parties.
  • The opponents are well-established in their own markets.
  • Searches in international trade mark databases produced no registrations in the name of the applicant.
  • The applicant (a Cuban citizen), does not have any official (Government) permits to operate in Cuba, in any or all the different economic areas affected by the pertinent trade marks.
  •  Part of the goods and services covered by the trade mark applications are forbidden activities for an individual person in Cuba. These products and services would be only valid for authorised legal persons and companies.
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