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The US Patent and Trade Office and the Cuban Industrial Property Office Take Steps to Increase Collaboration

Source: Grill IP patents news

obama-castro-us-cuba-ipThis December marks the two-year anniversary of the Obama administration’s announcement of renewed diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba. This renewal presents an opportunity for scientific collaboration and innovation, and by extension, legal protection. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been taking an active role in facilitating trade and investment between the two countries. As authorized commercial ties between the US and Cuba intensify, the protection intellectual property will be an indispensable part of foreign direct investment and trade.

    Strong intellectual property rights help to secure capital flows, stimulating market confidence in the commercial enforceability of legal protection, something historically lacking between the two countries. Over the past several months, the USPTO has been meeting with Cuban officials to create a long-term IP protection scheme. Throughout May, the USPTO participated in a number of events hosted by WIPO and the Cuban Industrial Property Office (OCPI), marking the first time officials from both offices were able to meet face-to-face in over fifty years. In September, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a seminar in Havana on the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), where the USPTO was an active party to the discussions on country-to-country patent filings. The PCT is designed to streamline the foreign patent application process.

    With increased trade comes an increased need for legal protection, as US companies begin navigating Cuba’s IP system. This necessitates an established line of communication between the USPTO and OCPI. Significant steps have been made, but an official IP policy between the renewed trade partners is still is the distant future.

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